RPT-CANADA STOCKS-Fed hopes take TSX to 1-month high as golds soar
* TSX rises 107.41 points, or 0.87 percent, to 12,414.34 * Seven of 10 main index sectors advance * Barrick, Goldcorp have biggest impact on market rise By John Tilak TORONTO, July 11 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index jumped to a 1-month high on Thursday after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke showed continued support for the Fed's stimulus program, fueling a surge in bullion prices and in gold-mining stocks. Most index sectors were up, but gold producers showed the sharpest gain, climbing 4.4 percent. Barrick Gold Corp was up 5.3 percent and Goldcorp Inc rose 4.8 percent, with the two having the biggest influence on the index's rise. Bernanke said on Wednesday the Fed must keep a stimulative monetary policy in place due to weak U.. inflation levels and a high unemployment rate. The comments buoyed global markets and took the Toronto index briefly back to positive territory for the year so far. "The market has perhaps got a little bit overexcited about what the Fed said," said Peter Westaway, chief economist at Vanguard Asset Management Ltd, a unit of Vanguard Group Inc. "I'm slightly surprised quite how much the market has taken it as a signal that policy is going to be looser for much longer." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 107.41 points, or 0.87 percent, at 12,414.34, after reaching 12,441.16, its highest in more than a month. The index gained for a fourth straight session. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gained 3.1 percent, helped by the advances in gold-mining stocks. The bullion price rose to a near three-week high. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were up 0.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest lender, climbed 0.5 percent to C$61.53, and Bank of Montreal < BMO.TO> rose 0.7 percent to C$62.66. Energy shares were up 0.8 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd advanced 2.3 percent to C$33.42, and Enbridge Inc gained 1 percent to C$45.61. Westaway said the aggressively accommodative policies that global central banks have adopted have taken markets into uncharted territory. "There's no track record for markets to fall back on. There's no playbook for policymakers to look at." "Overall, the global economy is on the mend, but there are still downside risks," he added, saying he sees a gradual stimulus rollback. "I don't think investors can sleep easy."
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