CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits two-week high as banks, materials climb

Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:08am EDT
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* TSX rises 47.75 points, or 0.38 percent, to 12,642.02
    * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance
    * BlackBerry soars as investors bet on move to explore
strategic alternatives

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
touched a two-week high on Tuesday, led by gains in financials
and materials, as strong economic data out of Europe buoyed
investor hopes for a steady global economic recovery.
    BlackBerry, which jumped 11 percent, provided
further support by extending gains it clocked in the previous
session, when the smartphone maker said that it was exploring
strategic alternatives. 
    Investors also eyed the start of the Canadian bank earnings
season later this month, while choppy trading in bullion kept
gold-mining stocks volatile.
    Data showed German analyst and investor sentiment rose more
than expected in August, indicating a rebound in momentum in
Europe's largest economy. 
    "It certainly gives you hope that Europe is maybe not in a
never-ending spiral downwards," said Matt Skipp, president of
SW8 Asset Management, adding that "jumping into conclusions that
everything is okay in Europe" might be premature.
    "Most of Europe's problems are systemic," he said. "Trying
to fix systemic risk with monetary policy is a mug's game."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 47.75 points, or 0.38 percent, at 12,642.02,
its highest since July 30.
    Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. 
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
advanced 0.3 percent. Toronto Dominion Bank climbed 0.5
percent to C$86.83, and Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.3
percent to C$63.53.
    Near the end of August, Canadian banks are expected to
report a small rise in quarterly profit as lending volumes are
restrained by economic uncertainty and a slowing Canadian
housing market.
    "You'll see a big effort on costs by the banks," said Skipp.
"It's still an extremely tough net interest margin environment."
    Skipp finds the banks more expensive than their peers in
Europe and the United States and said he wouldn't be surprised
if bank stocks pull back after reporting results.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, added
0.6 percent.
    Goldcorp Inc rose 0.8 percent to C$29.86, and Potash
Corp gained 0.4 percent to C$31.98.
    BlackBerry surged to $12.37 and boosted the information
technology sector up 2.5 percent.