TSX gains as bank stock gains, Valeant jumps

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index gained on Thursday, helped by rises for some of the country’s biggest banking stocks and a sharp jump in Valeant Pharmaceuticals but weighed down by losses for gold miners.

The Bay Street sign is pictured in the heart of the financial district as people walk by in Toronto, May 22, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The financials group climbed 1 percent after the Bank of Canada said the recent liquidity strain at Home Capital Group Inc HCG.TO was specific to that company and that the broader alternative lending system works.

“I think people took some confidence from the comments suggesting the central bank sees Home Capital as an isolated occurrence and still considers the underlying financial system to be fairly robust,” said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO rose 1.6 percent to C$77.85 and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO added 1.2 percent to C$65.06.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO also added to the positive sentiment, jumping 9.4 percent to C$17.96 after saying it would sell its iNova Pharmaceuticals business for $930 million as part of a debt reduction plan.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 50.95 points, or 0.33 percent, at 15,423.09.

Six of its 10 main sectors slipped, although advancers outnumbered declining stocks by a ratio of 1.3 to 1.

Gold miners were among the heaviest weights, falling as investors assessed former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony as containing no significant surprises.

Gold futures GCc1 fell 1.0 percent to $1,277.1 an ounce, while Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO fell 1.5 percent to C$22.45 and Goldcorp G.TO lost 2 percent to C$18.48. [GOL/]

Eldorado Gold Corp ELD.TO slumped 9.4 percent to C$3.85 after Greece said it would take the miner to arbitration over a gold mining investment.

Base metals miners jumped as copper prices CMCU3 advanced 2.2 percent to $5,746.50 a tonne after better-than-expected Chinese economic data allayed some concerns about oversupply. [MET/L]

First Quantum Minerals Ltd FM.TO jumped 7.7 percent to C$11.75.

“It tends to have some big swings off commodity prices, that’s not unheard of for them,” Cieszynski said.

Teck Resources Ltd TECKb.TO gained 3.6 percent to C$24.50, while Hudbay Minerals HBM.TO jumped 10.9 percent to C$7.40 after receiving a permit to move forward with a copper project in Arizona.

ECN Capital Corp ECN.TO ended up 3 percent at C$3.76 after the commercial financing company said it would buy U.S.-based Service Finance Holdings LLC for C$410 million ($304 million) in cash.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish