TSX rises to 11-month high as mining stocks rally

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose to an 11-month high on Thursday as mining stocks rallied and strong earnings reports boosted the shares of Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO and Encana Corp ECA.TO.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The index has rallied 12 percent year-to-date, outperforming Wall Street and many other major markets.

“Canada is actually in OK economic shape relative to other parts of the world,” said Bryden Teich, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management, who expects fiscal spending to give the economy an additional boost.

The Liberal government’s March budget placed a big bet on stimulus, including a monthly government payment to Canadian families that kicked in on Wednesday.

“Relatively speaking the stock market still offers a place to get a rate of return when there is not much else out there,” Teich added.

Yields on bonds in many developed markets are at historic lows after some central banks introduced negative interest rates.

The ECB held rates at record lows and left the door open to more policy stimulus, while spot gold XAU= rebounded from an earlier three-week low and rose more than 1 percent.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 2.1 percent. Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO rose 2.8 percent to C$26.72 and Teck Resources TCKb.TO was up 4.1 percent at C$17.96.

Rogers surged 3.9 percent to C$55.51 after posting a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on strong wireless and internet subscriber growth.

Encana’s shares advanced 3.6 percent to C$10.81 after the oil and gas producer reported a surprise quarterly profit.

However, the overall energy group dipped 0.2 percent as crude oil retreated.

U.S. crude oil futures settled $1 lower at $44.75 a barrel as the market took a closer look at U.S. government data that showed growing inventories of gasoline and other oil products.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 32.26 points, or 0.22 percent, at 14,565.83. It touched its highest since Aug. 5 at 14,596.31.

Just four of the index’s 10 main groups ended in positive territory.

Among the other groups that fell, financials and industrials both fell 0.3 percent.

Industrials were dragged lower by losses for railroad stocks. Canadian National Railway Co CNR.TO declined 0.9 percent to C$82.41 after strong gains on Wednesday.

In domestic data, the value of wholesale trade unexpectedly jumped by 1.8 percent in May from April. It was the biggest month-on-month advance since April 2015.

Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernadette Baum; Editing by Steve Orlofsky