CANADA STOCKS-TSX closes near 18-mth high; gold, bank stocks up

Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:23pm EST

* TSX rises 30.38 points, or 0.24 percent, to 12,824.63
    * Five of 10 main sectors advance
    * CN Rail falls 1 percent as results disappoint

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed
near an 18-month high on Tuesday, led by a rise in gold stocks,
which tracked a rally in the precious metal after the Bank of
Japan pledged to launch an aggressive stimulus plan.
    The gains were restrained by Canadian National Railway Co
 slipping 1 percent to C$93.77 after the country's
biggest rail carrier gave a profit outlook for 2013 that fell
short of analysts' expectations. 
    Investors have been shifting their attention between
macroeconomic concerns and corporate results, and expectations
have been muted for the resource sector this quarter. 
    But markets received support from the Bank of Japan
announcement that it would switch to an open-ended commitment to
buying assets next year and double its inflation target to 2
percent. 
    "Overall, the underlying sentiment is quite positive. It
looks like the TSX is on track to test 13,000 points," said
Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at
Global Securities in Vancouver.
    However, the near 18-month high the TSX is at pales in
comparison with the five-year high levels the S&P 500 has been
touching, he said.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 30.38 points, or 0.24 percent, at 12,824.63,
its highest since August 2, 2011.
    Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    The financial sector, the index's weightiest, gained 0.2
percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 0.7 percent to
C$61.76.
    The materials group, which includes mining stocks, rose 1
percent and played the biggest role of any single sector in
leading the market higher.
    Agrium Inc rose 3.1 percent to C$109.52, and
Barrick Gold Corp gained 1.2 percent to C$34.55.
    The energy sector rose 0.4 percent, with gains at Suncor
Energy Inc, up 1.1 percent at C$34.16, and other energy
companies, offsetting a decline in Canadian Natural Resources
Ltd. 
    The industrials sector slipped 0.2 percent, dragged down by
CN Railway.
    The pullback in the stock is a reflection that it has been
doing very well since the start of the year, said Gareth Watson,
vice president, investment management and research, at
Richardson GMP.
    "I still think it's a solid story. But I don't think the
results that came in justify the big run-up we've had since
January," he added.
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