CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 1-week high, led by banks, miners

Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:01pm EST

* TSX ends up 53.78 points, or 0.45 percent, at 12,100.06
    * Financials, materials, energy gain
    * Nine of 10 main sectors advance

    By Claire Sibonney
    TORONTO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
for a fourth straight session on Wednesday to hit a one-week
high, led up by financial stocks in a buildup to bank earnings
and by gains in commodity shares on firm prices for oil and
precious metals.
    The financial sector, the biggest on the index, advanced 0.6
percent on expectations of strong fourth-quarter bank earnings. 
    Bank results will be released over the next two weeks, with
Royal Bank of Canada the first to report, on Nov. 29.
Analysts expect a year-over-year profit gain of more than 10
percent for the group, driven by stronger capital
markets-related results.
    "The view is that you're going to have a pretty reasonable
quarter, and that is being reflected in the price movement we've
seen in the past several days," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio
strategist at TD Waterhouse.
    Bank of Nova Scotia was the most heavily weighted
gainer on the index, rising 0.9 percent to C$54.25, followed by
Toronto-Dominion Bank, up 0.6 percent at C$80.66. Royal
Bank of Canada added 0.3 percent to C$57.59. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended up 53.78 points, or 0.45 percent, at 12,100.06.
Nine of its 10 main sectors were positive. Health care shares
were off 0.2 percent.
    The index had opened lower after news that Greece's
international lenders failed to strike a deal to release
emergency aid, but politicians tried to give reassurance that a
deal was close. 
    Trading volume was healthy despite a holiday-shortened week
in the United States. U.S. stock markets will be closed on
Thursday for Thanksgiving and will close early, at 1 p.m. (1800
GMT), on Friday.
    Total volume on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday was
around 280 million shares, comparable to the daily average last
month.
    Energy shares were up 0.2 percent as oil prices ended higher
after thin, volatile trading, and relief over a ceasefire that
ended eight days of fighting between Israel and Hamas. 
    Prices rose by more than $1.50 a barrel early in the day
after an explosion on a Tel Aviv bus. But a truce announced at
midday eased concerns that a week of intensive Israeli fire on
the Gaza Strip and militant rocket attacks out of the enclave
could widen, engulfing regional oil exporters.
    Still, Suncor Energy was one of top advancers,
rising 0.8 percent to C$33.17, and Cenovus Energy 
climbed 1.5 percent to C$33.12. 
    "It looks like we're seeing a little bit of a geopolitical
premium building up in oil and I think there's definitely some
headline risk from the Middle East over the next few weeks,"
said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at Stenner Investment
Partners, a unit of Richardson GMP in Vancouver.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, rose 0.7
percent, tracking firm precious metal prices. 
    "Gold and silver are holding up pretty well, so it looks
like there's a fairly decent bid in the commodity space and
that's definitely helping the materials sector," Zohny said. 
    Barrick Gold Corp, up 1.1 percent at C$34.63,
Yamana Gold Inc, up 2.7 percent at C$19.21, and
Goldcorp Inc, up 0.8 percent at C$40.96, were among the
most heavily weighted gold miners on the upside.
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