June 29, 2011 / 7:24 PM / in 6 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-week high on Greece relief; TMX shrs up

 * TSX up 81.50 points at 13,186.48
 * Touches highest level since June 10
 * Materials, energy lead gains as commodity prices jump
 * TMX Group shares rise after deal with LSE scrapped  (Updates to afternoon, adds details, commentary)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, June 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index climbed to its highest level in more than two weeks on Wednesday after Greece’s parliament approved a tough austerity plan aimed at preventing the country from going bankrupt.
 Though the decision was widely expected, world stocks and commodities rallied for the third straight day as the Greek government won the deeply unpopular fight for spending cuts and tax hikes. [MKTS/GLOB]
 The index’s three most influential sectors were all stronger, with materials up 1.4 percent, energy up 1 percent, and financials edging 0.1 percent higher.
 Among the biggest gainers, Potash Corp (POT.TO) jumped 2.5 percent to C$55.35, Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose 1.7 percent to C$43.91 and Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) advanced 2.5 percent to C$35.47.
 Canadian stocks have rallied all week as some investors, anticipating the decision, began pricing it in.
 “It was pretty clear yesterday the austerity plan was going to pass because you had leaks that many in the opposition party were going to be voting for it,” said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
 Still, he said, the official vote was a big relief to nervous investors.
 “We have three hurdles that are bothering us this summer,” said Schwartz. “The first one is we’ve got a Greek austerity plan out of the way, the other two are what are we going to do to get the economy rocking and rolling again and can the Republicans and Democrats get to an agreement on the debt ceiling.”
   At 2:56 p.m. (1856 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 81.50 points, or 0.62 percent, at 13,186.48, after briefly falling into negative territory. Seven of the 10 main groups were stronger.
 Earlier, the TSX rose as high as 13,233.76, its best level since June 10.
 Riskier assets also got a boost from data showing a rebound in Japanese industrial production last night and mildly encouraging report on U.S. pending home sales shortly after the market open.
 TMX Group (X.TO) was up 2.4 percent at C$44.60 after the London and Toronto stock exchanges canceled plans to combine forces, pushing a consortium of Canadian banks and pension funds into the driver’s seat in its fight to take over the company. [ID:nN1E75S1EI]
 On the downside, BCE Inc (BCE.TO) fell 0.6 percent to C$37.78 after Canada’s Competition Bureau said on Tuesday that BCE’s Bell Canada unit had agreed to pay C$10 million and to stop making what the watchdog called “misleading representations” about its prices. [ID:nN1E75R1U4]
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)  (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)                                        

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