April 19, 2013 / 12:27 PM / in 4 years

Banks, gold shares drive TSX gains as sentiment improves

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index climbed on Friday, as improved investor sentiment and a rise in the price of some commodities fueled gains in financial and material shares, offsetting a decline in energy companies.

The gains failed to stem a 2.2 percent fall in the index this week, its second-biggest weekly decline of the year, triggered by a giant commodities selloff on Monday, when the price of gold posted its biggest ever drop.

Concerns about the global economic recovery and growth in China have weighed on the resource-heavy market.

Investors closely watched finance leaders of the G20 economies edge away from a long-running drive toward government austerity in rich nations, rejecting the idea of setting hard targets for reducing national debt.

Analysts said the lower prices resulting from the selloff earlier in the week did attract some buyers on Friday.

“The panic fears have subsided and things are stabilizing,” said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets.

“There’s still a sense of caution out there even though people are not running for the exits,” he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 69.21 points, 0.58 percent, at 12,065.55.

Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, gained 0.7 percent.

The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, added 0.9 percent, helped by a 1.4 percent rise in gold shares.

Separately, a group of Canada’s largest pension funds publicly objected to Barrick Gold Corp’s (ABX.TO) move to award an $11.9 million signing bonus to its co-Chairman John Thornton, saying the payment was unprecedented in Canada.

Shares of the gold miner climbed 1.1 percent to C$18.65.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) jumped 3.8 percent to C$77.54 and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market higher. As a result, the healthcare sector rose 1.3 percent.

Investors were also paying attention to the upcoming earnings season, which could be a catalyst for depressed Canadian stocks, which are down about 3 percent since the start of the year.

Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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