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