CANADA STOCKS-U.S. data, stimulus comments push TSX higher
* TSX rises 54.15 points, or 0.43 percent, to 12,750.52 * Scotiabank little changed after results * Gold shares fall after bullion price decline By John Tilak TORONTO, May 28 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Tuesday, led by the energy and financial sectors, as investors were encouraged by positive U.S. economic data and signs of support for stimulus programs from the Japanese and European central banks. The gains were capped by a decline in shares of gold producers after the price of bullion tumbled on the upbeat economic news. Data on Tuesday showed U.S. home prices accelerated by the most in nearly seven years in March as the spring buying season helped, while surging consumer confidence pointed to some resilience for the economic recovery. The resource-heavy Toronto market has gained about 7 percent since hitting a low last month. "From a short-term perspective, it looks like a pretty strong rally which might be poised for a pullback," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 54.15 points, or 0.43 percent, at 12,750.52. A board member of the European Central Bank said the ECB can still cut interest rates further to stimulate the economy if needed, while an official of the Bank of Japan said it was vital to keep long- and short-term interest rates stable. "The market is betting that the stimulus won't be removed for some time yet," said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. A surge in oil prices, supported by rising Middle East risk and positive investor sentiment, helped energy shares gain 0.9 percent. Financials, the index's most heavily-weighted sector, added 0.8 percent. Royal Bank of Canada climbed 1.3 percent to C$64.10 and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market higher. Scotiabank's second-quarter profit rose 9.6 percent due largely to an acquisition, but missed estimates due to weaker commodities-related revenue and higher loan-loss provisions. The stock was little changed. The lender's results follow reports from Toronto Dominion Bank and National Bank of Canada "The bank numbers seem to confirm that the Canadian economy is slowing down but not going to be an outright disaster," Picardo said. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, was down 0.4 percent after shares of gold miners lost 0.7 percent. Goldcorp Inc fell 1.2 percent to C$27.57, and Barrick Gold Corp slipped 0.9 percent to C$19.88.
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