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* Foreign investment strengthens to C$8.36 bln
* Foreign acquisitions in Jan-Sept less than half that of yr earlier
* Canadians sell C$1.46 billion of foreign securities
OTTAWA, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Foreign investment in Canadian securities strengthened in September from August as acquisitions of stocks surged to the highest level since September 2009, offsetting the divestment in equities over the first eight months of the year.
Non-residents picked up C$8.36 billion ($8.04 billion) worth of overall securities in the month, Statistics Canada said on Monday, the highest inflow in five months and up from the C$2.08 billion investment in August.
Foreigners added C$10.79 billion in Canadian stocks, mainly on the secondary market, to their portfolios as the stock market rose for the third straight month.
They reduced their holdings of bonds by C$2.79 billion, although purchases of private corporate bonds partially offset the sale of retiring federal government bonds. Demand for shorter-term debt instruments such as treasury bills was C$362 million.
Canada - one of the few nations with a "AAA" debt rating - was an attractive destination for investors seeking security in the wake of the 2008 recession, but demand for Canadian securities had slowed in recent months. From January to September, foreign purchases totaled C$32.36 billion, less than half the amount acquired in the same period of 2012.
Canadians investors, for their part, dumped C$1.46 billion of foreign securities in September after buying C$5.81 billion in August. They offloaded both equity and debt instruments.