November 5, 2009 / 10:05 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Positive U.S. data helps drive TSX higher

* TSX finishes up 109.50 points at 11,180.70

* U.S. economic data helps index higher

* Sun Life, Manulife fall after earnings reports (Adds quote, details)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished higher on Thursday as U.S. business productivity and weekly jobs data helped to lift investor confidence in the economic recovery.

The figures showed third-quarter business productivity grew at the fastest pace in six years and that new claims for jobless aid fell to a 10-month low last week, indicating the decline in the labor market may be hitting bottom. [ID:nN05106320]

“The U.S. productivity numbers basically shot the lights out. It was a really good print,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.

Among the top Toronto gainers were Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), up 2.5 percent at C$55.58, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), which climbed 2.9 percent to C$64.80. Teck Resources TCKb.TO was up 4.8 percent at C$33.38.

As well, Kerkovius said rosy earnings results from U.S. technology bellwether Cisco (CSCO.O), released on Wednesday, helped to boost sentiment. [ID:nN04515993]

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 109.50 points, or 0.99 percent, at 11,180.70, with all of its 10 main groups higher.

“There’s a lot of green on the screen,” said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets. “We’re slightly upward bias-based because the U.S. is up so much. Left to its own measures I think Toronto would be sort of flattish.”

Threatening to tug the index lower through the day were insurers Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO), down 6.5 percent at C$28.16, and Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO), which retreated 3.55 percent to C$19.86. Both reported surprise losses on Thursday. [ID:nN05115880]

Strength in its energy and materials sectors, up 0.96 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, also helped lift the key index even though commodity prices were slightly lower. [O/R] [GOL/] EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) rose 1.8 percent and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO climbed 1.6 percent.

The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 6.85 points, or 1.04 percent, higher at 662.82.

$1=$1.07 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway

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