CANADA STOCKS-TSX at 10-1/2 month high; US data, financials lift

Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:37pm EST
 
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* TSX rises 65.91 points, or 0.52 pct, to 12,674.73
    * All 10 main sectors rise
    * H&R Real Estate slips 2.3 pct on deal to acquire Primaris

    By Solarina Ho
    TORONTO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
touched its strongest level in 10-1/2 months on Thursday, led by
financial and resource stocks, spurred in part by encouraging
U.S. economic data and corporate results.
    Upbeat U.S. housing and labor data, combined with strong
earnings reports from some U.S. companies helped push the S&P
500 to a five-year high.  
    "The main factor was basically the U.S. market doing a
little bit better and some of the economic data in the States
was stronger than expected this morning and that's helped out
everything," said Levente Mady, a senior portfolio manager at PI
Financial Corp.
    "We've had a decent run here. The market is just overstretch
a tiny little bit, probably the U.S. market more than Canada."
    All 10 of the index's main sectors finished higher. The
dominant financial group, which makes up nearly a third of the
index, was up 0.56 percent.
    Toronto Dominion Bank rose 1 percent to C$82.69 and
carried the most weight on the index. Royal Bank of Canada
 gained 0.57 percent to C$61.44 and was a top three index
mover.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 advanced 65.91 points, or 0.52 pct, to 12,674.73. The
index touched its highest level since the beginning of March
2012.
    The index's technology stocks rose 1.55 percent, helped by
quarterly results from EBay that beat Wall Street expectations.
 
    Canadian IT services firm CGI Group Inc was the
strongest leader in that sector, rising 2.9 percent to C$24.86.
    Energy shares rose 0.61 percent, buoyed by firmer oil
prices, which rose on economic optimism following the U.S. data.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd rose 2.05 percent to
C$29.33. 
    TransCanada Corp shares were also 1.2 percent
higher a day after it said construction of its $2.3 billion Gulf
Coast Project was going smoothly and the pipeline is expected to
open on schedule by year end. 
    Some analysts did not expect the market's optimism to last,
however, as January comes to a close, citing a return to the
uncertainty due to the unresolved debt ceiling issue in the
United States.  
    "As we get closer to the discussions in the United States on
the lifting of the debt ceiling, that would be the dominant
theme as far as the markets are concerned," said John Ing,
president of Maison Placements Canada.
    Gold stocks were one of the few weak areas on the market,
with Kinross Gold Corp the biggest drag, falling 1.26
percent, to C$9.37. 
    In acquisition news, units of H&R Real Estate Investment
Trust slipped 2.14 percent to C$23.28 after it
announced a deal to acquire Canadian shopping mall-focused
Primaris Retail REIT. Primaris units rose 0.26
percent to C$26.58. 
    Sun Life Financial Inc and a Malaysian state
investor will buy Aviva Plc's Malaysian insurance joint venture
with lender CIMB Group in a deal that will accelerate Sun Life's
push into southeast Asia. The insurance company's shares rose
1.07 percent to C$28.24. 
    Harry Winston Diamond Corp's shares fell as much as
4.5 percent and closed down 2.18 percent to C$14.34 after its
plan to buy BHP Billiton's Ekati diamond operations in Northern
Canada hit a snag on Thursday, with a minority partner filing a
lawsuit to try to block the deal.