TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index edged higher on Friday, lifted by U.S. economic data and encouraged by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s assurance this week that its monetary policy will stay easy despite a pullback of its bond-buying program.
Providing further lift was a jump in shares of BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) after the company reported a massive quarterly loss but said it was entering a handset production deal that lowers the risk it will have to take more large writedowns on unsold smartphones.
The Fed on Wednesday cut the pace of its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion, signaling its confidence in the U.S. economic recovery, and vowed to keep interest rates lower for a longer period.
The world’s biggest economy grew at its fastest pace in almost two years in the third quarter and business spending was stronger than previously estimated, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures on Friday.
”It shows the Fed’s decision to commence tapering in favorable light,“ said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver, of the economic data. ”The uncertainty about tapering has been erased from the market.
“The longer the global rally continues, the better the prospects become for the TSX.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 7.40 points, or 0.06 percent, at 13,399.60, after rising as high as 13,504.33, its highest level since November 25.
The Canadian benchmark index is up about 7.7 percent this year, lagging its U.S. peers.
Picardo said that 2014 could well be the year when risk appetite returns to the export-driven Canadian market.
“All indications are that the global economy will fire on all cylinders,” he said. “If that happens, the TSX is the perfect proxy to take advantage of that.”
Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, climbed slightly. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was up 0.9 percent at C$64.75 and had the biggest positive influence on the index.
In other corporate news, Canadian regulators urged the government on Thursday to approve Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline plan, saying it would pose little risk to the environment if the company complied with a long list of conditions. Enbridge’s (ENB.TO) stock was steady at C$45.35.
Shares of BlackBerry shot up 16 percent to C$7.74, driving the information technology sector up 2.2 percent.
Editing by Chris Reese; and Peter Galloway