XxCANADA STOCKS-TSX at 1-month high; metals rally with Fed move
* TSX rises 72.38 points, or 0.59 percent, to 12,354.74 * Gold companies Barrick, Goldcorp lead rally * Eight of 10 main sectors advance By John Tilak TORONTO, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit a one-month high on Wednesday, led by a jump in the materials sector and resource prices, as the U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled a fresh round of bond buying to boost the economy. The Fed's move overshadowed concerns about ongoing U.S. Congressional negotiations aimed at averting steep tax hikes and spending cuts due to kick in early in 2013. The U.S. central bank said it would hold interest rates near zero until it hit the specific target of a 6.5 percent jobless rate, and it pledged to keep pumping more money into the economy. At midafternoon, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 72.38 points, or 0.59 percent, at 12,354.74, after earlier reaching 12,365.83, its highest since Nov. 6. "The TSX has year-to-date underperformed the U.S. and global markets. There's a little bit of catch-up going on," said Shailesh Kshatriya, senior investment analyst at Russell Investments Canada. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index advanced. The top driver was the materials sector, which includes mining stocks. The group rose 1.8 percent, tracking a rally in commodity prices. Gold prices were up 0.5 percent, while silver rose about 2 percent. "Gold has a tailwind from monetary policy," Kshatriya said. He added that gold would continue to benefit from monetary policy, and there was more interest in central banks owning gold given the macroeconomic uncertainty. Barrick Gold Corp rose 3.1 percent to C$34.59, and Goldcorp Inc gained 3.1 percent to C$37.70. The financial sector, the index's largest, climbed 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada gained 0.6 percent to C$59.23, Toronto Dominion Bank was up 0.8 percent at C$81.23, and Bank of Nova Scotia added 0.4 percent to C$56.72. Kshatriya, who forecasts that the TSX will reach 12,600 by the end of 2013, sees more opportunities in the metals and mining sectors than in energy and financial stocks.
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