TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index hit a one-week high on Friday as gold-mining shares shot through the roof after bullion rallied, overshadowing a plunge in smartphone maker BlackBerry (BB.TO).
The gold sector soared more than 8 percent to record its biggest single-day percentage jump in more than 3-1/2 years.
Despite its gain on the last trading day of the second quarter, the index posted its biggest quarterly decline in a year, falling 4.9 percent.
BlackBerry lost more than 26 percent of its market value after its quarterly report offered few signs of a long-promised turnaround. The company posted an unexpected operating loss and gave few details on sales of its make-or-break new line of smartphones, and did not signal a return to profit in the current quarter.
Giving the market support was data that showed Japan’s consumer prices stopped falling in May, while labor demand reached its strongest level in five years.
While global markets were hit hard by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s hints last week of a tightening monetary policy, investors took heart from another Fed official’s comments on Thursday that Fed asset purchases will be more aggressive than outlined last week if U.S. economic growth falters.
The market is starting to realize that the Fed is not likely to put a sharp end to its massive bond buying program, said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investments.
“Bernanke was talking about taking the foot off the pedal, rather than putting the brakes on,” he added. “It’s loosening the amount that is going in, rather than taking it all out.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 123.33 points, or 1.03 percent, at 12,129.11. The benchmark Canadian index is down 2.4 percent this year.
“We’ll probably see a sideways-moving market in Canada, probably lower, over the summer,” said Adatia, who expects the weakness to result mainly from a slowdown in the country’s housing industry and softer commodity prices.
Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Friday.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, added 4.7 percent. Gold mining shares jumped 8.4 percent as the price of bullion climbed. <GOL/> Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) gained 9.5 percent to C$26.12, and Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) rose 6.6 percent to C$16.60.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, were up 0.4 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) rose 0.7 percent to C$84.47.
BCE Inc (BCE.TO) shares climbed 2.8 percent to C$43.12 after Canada’s broadcast regulator approved a C$3 billion ($2.86 billion) bid by the telecoms company to take over Astral Media Inc ACMa.TO.
BlackBerry’s drop to C$11.08 caused a 7.7 percent fall in the information technology sector, the only group to decline.
Editing by Peter Galloway