CANADA STOCKS-TSX touches two-year high as Fed hopes lift market

Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:50pm EST
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* TSX rises 51.18 points, or 0.38 percent, to 13,482.56
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Index up 0.8 percent on the week
    * Canadian Natural is the index's most influential gainer
    * Saputo climbs after raising bid for Australian company

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
to its highest in more than two years on Friday after Federal
Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who is widely expected to take
over as head of the U.S. central bank, expressed strong support
for the Fed's stimulus program.
    The Toronto stock market's benchmark index advanced for a
third straight session and recorded a second consecutive weekly
    Economic reforms announced by China, which included steps to
free up markets, also provided support. 
    Yellen defended the Fed's plans to stimulate growth and said
on Thursday she would implement the central bank's ultra-easy
monetary policy until officials are confident the economic
recovery is robust and job creation sustainable. 
    "The spotlight is clearly on Janet Yellen," said Adrian
Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management, who
expects the Canadian market to benefit in the near term from the
continuation of the Fed's accommodative monetary policy. 
    "As long as the Fed is shelling out money, we're going
higher," he added. "But someday the buying has to stop."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 51.18 points, or 0.38 percent, at 13,482.56,
after reaching 13,490.19, its highest level since July 2011.
    The strong advances in the Canadian market over the last one
month are unsustainable, said John Ing, president of Maison
Placements Canada. But lagging natural resource stocks offer
value, he added. "My expectation is that commodities will pick
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, rose
0.4 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia advanced 0.3 percent
to C$65.64, and Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.6 percent
to C$97.33. 
    Energy shares jumped 1 percent. Canadian Natural Resources
Ltd rose 3 percent to C$34.10 and was the index's most
influential gainer. Suncor Energy Inc advanced 0.4
percent to C$37.36.
    Canadian dairy company Saputo Inc raised its
takeover offer for Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter
Factory Co Holdings Ltd by 12.5 percent, and
Warrnambool's board unanimously recommended it. 
Saputo shares rose 0.8 percent to C$49.08.