CANADA STOCKS-TSX gains as banks lead, eyeing 0.8 pct gain on week
(Adds investor comment, details, byline) By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, July 25 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday and was still on track for a 0.8 percent gain in a week of all-time highs, as financial stocks and some resource names gained. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index has climbed into virgin territory in recent days. Investors are confident that economic fundamentals underpin the rally, despite worries of a pullback. "It is sustainable but in the short term we could very well have a consolidation," Rick Hutcheon, president at RKH Investments. "It's all going to depend very much on the earnings as they come out over the next little while." Hutcheon said that equities are likely to remain more popular than fixed income while interest rates are low and looking to rise, and that energy and financial stocks are well placed to gain from global recovery and higher rates. "There really aren't a whole lot of choices until the Fed starts to raise rates, which as an aside appears to be still a year-ish away," he said, referring to the U.S. Federal Reserve. Some of Canada's biggest banks led the way on Friday, with Toronto-Dominion Bank up 1.4 percent to C$56.72, Royal Bank of Canada gaining 0.7 percent to C$79.88, and Bank of Nova Scotia also adding 0.7 percent, to C$73.83. Shares in TransForce Inc jumped 7.8 percent to C$27.14 after the transportation and logistics company said late on Thursday it planned to buy freight transport company Contrans Group Inc for C$495 million. Among resource stocks, Potash Corp gained 1 percent to C$39.30 on evidence that fertilizer demand was improving. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 44.73 points, or 0.29 percent, at 15,439.18 by mid-morning for its fourth straight session hitting an intra-day record high. Earlier in the week, geopolitical disturbances in Ukraine and the Middle East forced a minor retreat, but RKH's Hutcheon said those risks are unlikely to affect sentiment again without a major escalation. Canada said on Thursday it would impose sanctions on a range of Russian firms and banks to punish Moscow for what it said was the illegal occupation of Crimea and "provocative military activity" in eastern Ukraine. (Editing by James Dalgleish)
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