March 1, 2010 / 10:28 PM / 9 years ago

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

* TSX ends up 98.43 points at 11,728.06

* Miners, energy producers, banks gain (Adds quotes, details)

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 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 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,” Zohny said.

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.”

On the commodities side, copper prices hit their highest level in more than five weeks after the massive earthquake in top producer Chile closed up to a fifth of the country’s output, stoking speculation that the metal could revisit a 2010 peak. [MET/L]

“The easy story was a good rally on copper due to the unfortunate Chile earthquake,” said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal. He also noted that currency moves in the sterling and euro have also boosted commodity prices.

Gold hit record highs in sterling terms as fears the next U.K. election could result in a hung parliament weighed on the British currency. [GOL/]

The market is also looking ahead to the Bank of Canada’s interest rate decision on Tuesday and the presentation of Canada’s federal budget on Thursday for further clues on the pace of economic recovery and government spending. [ID:nN25256606] [ID:nN25121224]

$1=$1.04 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney; Editing by Peter Galloway

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