March 1, 2010 / 10:08 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX boosted by firm growth data, copper prices

* TSX ends up 98.43 points at 11,728.06

* Miners, energy producers, banks gain

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, March 1 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed higher on Monday as industrial and bank shares were boosted by stellar North American economic data and mining stocks benefited from surging copper prices resulting from Chile’s massive earthquake.

Miners and energy producers were among the index’s top gainers with Teck Resources TCKb.TO up 3.2 percent at C$39.94, and EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) adding 2.4 percent to C$35.31.

Industrials were also up 1.3 percent after Canada reported sizzling fourth-quarter economic growth and U.S. consumer spending rose for a fourth straight month. [ID:nN01242801] [ID:nN01245103]

“Most stocks that are economic-sensitive are seeing some decent returns and that ties into the data which really points to a cyclical recovery,” said Youssef Zohny, who helps oversee C$45 million ($43.3 million) in funds as an associate portfolio manager at Van Arbor Asset Management in Vancouver.

Also part of the cyclicals story, financials gained as well.

National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), up 2.5 percent at C$61.74, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), up 1.3 percent at C$70.93, were among the sub-index’s top gainers after both of the country’s biggest banks reported a rise in quarterly profits last week.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 98.43 points, or 0.85 percent, at 11,728.06.

Even traditional safe-haven sectors such as telecoms and utilities helped lift the market as money managers bought into “cheaper” stocks on the first day of the month.

“A lot of RRSP money and a lot of fund flows for hedge funds come in at the beginning of the month, so I think you’re really seeing the buying concentrated on a lot of the valuations,” said Zohny.

Telecom giant BCE (BCE.TO) was up 2.7 percent at C$30 and Canadian Utilities (CU.TO) rose 1.1 percent at C$45.13.

“When you look at the telecoms and utilities sectors, I think they’re sitting around 4 percent dividend yields plus the valuations are the cheapest on the market,” Zohny added.

“They underperformed last year and if you look at valuations they’re pretty attractive for most money managers, us included.”

$1=$1.04 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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