CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher as Sherritt, Centerra deals lift miners

Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:38am EST
 
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* TSX index up 41.51 points, or 0.31 pct, at 13,489.21
    * Volume light, trading to end early


    By Cameron French
    TORONTO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
higher in an abbreviated session on Tuesday as stronger metals
prices and a pair of deals buoyed mining stocks, while the
broader market was helped by strong U.S. economic data.
    Base metals miner Sherritt International surged 8.6
percent to C$3.67 after the company said it would sell its coal
business for C$946 million. 
    Kyrgyzstan-focused miner Centerra Gold charged ahead
8.8 percent to C$4.32 after it said it had agreed to swap the
Kyrgyz government's 32.7 percent stake in the company for half
of Centerra's flagship Kumtor mine, raising hopes that it could
end long-standing friction over the mine's ownership.
    Those deals, along with steady gold prices and firmer
copper, drove the TSX's mining-heavy materials subgroup up 0.95
percent, making it the strongest performing sector on the index.
    All told, eight of the benchmark index's 10 subgroups were
stronger.
    With volumes light ahead of an early 1 p.m. (1800 GMT)
market close, investors took their cue from
stronger-than-expected U.S. durable goods orders data
, the latest in a string of positive reports that
have raised hopes for robust economic growth in 2014.
    "It's signaling what we've been seeing out of economic
reports for the last several months, which is that not only are
the Canadian and U.S. economies improving but the global
economies are starting to get a little more footing," said Craig
Fehr, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones.
    The financials subgroup was up 0.27 percent, with life
insurers leading the way. Sun Life Financial was up 0.6
percent at C$37.24, while Manulife Financial was up 0.5
percent at C$20.85.
    About 45 minutes into the session, the Toronto Stock
Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 41.51
points, or 0.31 percent, at 13,489.21.
    In addition to the early close on Tuesday, the exchange will
be closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Christmas and Boxing
Day holidays.