CANADA STOCKS-Economic optimism returns, lifts TSX to one-week high
* TSX rises 93.53 points, or 0.74 percent, to 12,767.88 * Nine of 10 main index sectors advance * Suncor has biggest positive influence on market * Maple Leaf Foods jumps after move to sell biodiesel unit By John Tilak TORONTO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit a one-week high on Friday after positive economic data buoyed commodity prices and lifted hopes for a stable global recovery, fueling gains in every major sector. The Toronto market strongly outpaced the S&P 500 and maintained a lead over its U.S. counterpart in August to date. The mood was somewhat tempered by figures showing sales of new single-family homes in the United States slumped in July to their lowest level in nine months. Investors were encouraged by data showing the strongest quarterly expansion of the German economy in more than a year between April and June. The numbers, which followed a wave of bullish data from around the world earlier in the week, strengthened the thesis that global growth was starting to gain momentum and took some of the focus away from the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary strategy. "The recovery is on track," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. "It looks like the worldwide economies are moving along at a slow pace, but at a positive pace." "We think the Canadian market is cheap relative to the United States," he added. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 93.53 points, or 0.74 percent, at 12,767.88, its highest level since August 16. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, rose 0.6 percent. Royal Bank of Canada climbed 0.9 percent to C$65.04, and Toronto Dominion Bank added 1 percent C$88.85. Energy shares were up 0.8 percent. Suncor Energy Inc jumped 2.2 percent to C$36.14 and had the biggest positive influence on the market for a second straight day. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gained 2 percent, with gold producers climbing almost 3 percent. Goldcorp Inc rose 3 percent to C$32.93, and Barrick Gold Corp advanced 2.7 percent to C$21.13. In company news, Maple Leaf Foods said it will sell its rendering and biodiesel business to Darling International Inc for about C$645 million ($613.6 million) in cash. Maple Leaf shares soared 9.3 percent to C$14.63.
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