CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 19-month high as gold shares drive gains
* TSX rises 30.91 points, or 0.24 percent, to 12,889.40 * Index hits highest since August 2011 * Five of 10 main sectors advance * Inmet shares up 2 pct after First Quantum extends offer By John Tilak TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit a 19-month high on Tuesday as strong gains made by gold shares, buoyed by the highest bullion price in two weeks, offset worries about the European economy. The price of gold climbed more than 1 percent after comments by an European Central Bank official that eurozone inflation pressures are moderating, viewed as an indication of continued monetary easing. An analyst said this could prove to be a short-term bounce for languishing gold stocks, which are still down about 15 percent since the start of the year. "There is a little bit of buying in the commodity sector. But we don't think it will last," said Arthur Salzer, chief executive officer of Northland Wealth Management. "We are not adding to the positions we have in gold stocks right now. We're still waiting for a little more weakness," he added. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 30.91 points, or 0.24 percent, at 12,889.40. It earlier reached 12,904.71, its highest since August 2011. Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. The materials sector, which includes the miners, was up 1.6 percent. Goldcorp Inc rose 2.9 percent to C$34.13, and Barrick Gold Corp climbed 1.9 percent to C$30.20. Energy stocks gained 0.7 percent, with oil prices rising. Suncor Energy Inc added about 1 percent to C$31.88. Financials, the index's weightiest sector, gave back 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest bank, declined 0.6 percent to C$62.27. BlackBerry slipped 3.1 percent to C$14.82, a day after recording a near 14 percent jump on takeover speculation and on plans to start selling its latest smartphone in the United States. In company news, First Quantum Minerals Ltd said it will extend its C$5.1 billion ($4.97 billion) hostile bid for its smaller rival Inmet Mining Corp by a few days after a majority of Inmet shareholders tendered shares in favor of the offer. Inmet shares were up nearly 2 percent at C$69.97.
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