CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises as firm data outweighs Barrick's slide
* TSX rises 72.76 points, or 0.59 percent, to 12,495.67 * Hits six-week high after positive U.S. data * Energy, financials stocks lead market higher * Barrick Gold biggest drag; shares down 9 percent By John Tilak TORONTO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit a six-week high on Thursday, driven by positive economic data from the United States and China, which more than offset disappointing results from mining giants Barrick Gold Corp and Cameco Corp. U.S. data showed consumer confidence climbed to a more than four-year high in October and the pace of growth in manufacturing picked up modestly. The numbers pushed U.S. stock markets up sharply. Official and private sector factory surveys signaled China's economy was regaining some traction, although the recovery is expected to be sluggish. "We've started the month off with a swath of economic data from across the world. The common theme is that the global economy is seeing stabilization," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager with Stenner Investment Partners, a unit of Richardson GMP. "In some instances, in China and the U.S., the data was better-than-expected. That's helping drive the market," he added. The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX composite index was up 72.76 points, or 0.59 percent, at 12,495.67. The index hit 12,506.68 earlier in the session, its highest since Sept. 17. The market was led higher by its energy subgroup, up 1.29 percent. Suncor Energy Inc rose 3.46 percent to C$34.68, playing the biggest role of any company in leading the market higher. Suncor, Canada's biggest oil and gas company, rose after it posted a 21 percent rise in third-quarter profit late on Wednesday and cut spending on oil sands projects. The financial subgroup also helped support the index, rising 0.71 percent. Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.93 percent at C$57.47, and Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.92 percent to C$81.97. Together, the energy and financial sectors form about 60 percent of the index's weight. Shares in Catamaran Corp rose 8.4 percent to C$50.84 after the pharmacy benefit manager raised its earnings forecast for the year. MINERS, BCE DRAG AFTER RESULTS Gains in energy and financial shares were partly offset by a 0.34 percent decline in the materials group. Barrick Gold, the world's top gold miner, fell more than 9 percent to C$36.74 after it reported a sharp decline in third-quarter profit and forecast higher costs associated with its huge Pascua-Lama mine in South America. Barrick was the biggest drag of any single stock on the index. Though Barrick was "being punished," there might be a limit to the decline over the long term, said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities. "Most gold stocks are down. But the commodity itself is up. That will help put a floor under it," he added. Gold prices were up as gains in stock markets increased the appetite for nominally higher-risk assets such as commodities. The second biggest drag on the index was BCE Inc. Shares of Canada's biggest telecom provider dropped 1.4 percent after it reported quarterly profit fell from a year earlier. Cameco Corp, the world's largest publicly-listed uranium producer, also weighed on the market. Its shares were down 6 percent after the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company cut its long-term uranium production target by 10 percent on Wednesday.
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