CANADA STOCKS-TSX pushes higher, up on quarter, down on month

Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:38pm EDT
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   * TSX ends up 32.52 points, or 0.23 pct, at 14,116.10
 * Five of the index's 10 main groups higher
 * TSX rises 5 pct in Q1, off 0.1 pct in Feb
 * Bombardier surges more than 13 percent
 (Updates to close, adds details, commentary)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed higher on Thursday, lifted by rallying commodity prices,
solid economic data and impressive results from aircraft and
train maker Bombardier  BBDb.TO.
 Bombardier soared 13 percent to C$7.13, and was among the
most influential gainers. The company reported an 82 percent
jump in fourth-quarter earnings as business jet orders picked
up dramatically and it announced a $278 million contract for
new trains. [ID:nL3E7EV1SN]
 The overall industrials sector led advances with a 2.1
percent rise. [ID:nL3E7EV1SN]
 "It's a very cyclical business and the fact that Bombardier
had such strong earnings says that there are orders out there,"
said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall,
MacDougall & MacTier."
 Nakamoto said the market has been resilient lately despite
all the bad news, particularly out of Japan and the Middle
East, as well as political uncertainty ahead of the May federal
election and oil prices well above $100 a barrel.
 "Poor news seems to be forgotten pretty quickly and good
news I think will cause people to get off the sidelines and put
money into the market. If you think of what's happened here in
the month and still we're almost back to flat," he said.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed up 32.52 points, or 0.23 percent, at
14,116.10. Earlier in the session, it reached as high as
14,166.60, its strongest level in almost a week.
 Half of the index's 10 main groups advanced. Financials
reversed earlier gains and ended down 0.2 percent. The index
was up 5 percent for the quarter and off 0.1 percent for the
 The materials group, home to mining companies, rose 0.4
percent as metal prices firmed. Barrick Gold ABX.TO gained
0.6 percent to C$50.39 while Agnico Eagle AEM.TO jumped 2.1
percent to C$64.45.
 Gold rose nearly 1 percent, set for a 10th straight
quarterly gain, as the U.S. dollar fell against the euro and as
oil rallied on Middle East supply worries. [GOL/] [O/R]
 Oil and gas stocks added 0.3 percent, with Suncor Energy
SU.TO up 0.3 percent C$43.48.
 "Today's all about commodities recovering after having a
selloff most of this week," said Barry Schwartz, vice-president
and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
 "Pretty bullish feelings out there, because the economy is
showing such strong output. Each time we get these outside
shocks, these geopolitical events, it doesn't seem to have any
effect on the rally."
 On the data front, Canada's gross domestic product figures,
released early on Thursday, showed manufacturing grew at its
fastest rate in eight years and helped boost the overall
economy by 0.5 percent. [ID:nN31223177]
 South of the border, initial claims for unemployment
benefits last week showed the trend of labor market
improvements remained intact, but at a slow pace.
 The data precedes Friday's closely watched monthly
employment report from the U.S. Labor Department -- a large
deviation in either direction from the estimate of 190,000 jobs
added to March non-farm payrolls is likely to have a strong
effect on markets. [ID:nN31253973]
  "I heard someone call it the power of zero, when you're
getting pretty much zero on any sort of fixed income
instrument, money will go into where they think it will get the
best returns and ... it's gone into equity markets," added
 "Having said that, besides lower interest rates, the
earnings performances were much better than analysts expected
and I think this quarter which is about to end is going to be
another good one."
  ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)