CANADA STOCKS-TSX jumps as German data lifts banks, energy

Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:56pm EST

* TSX rises 123.58 points, or 0.97 percent, to 12,810.21
    * Nine of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Great-West Lifeco climbs on Irish acquisition
    * Mining stocks slip as gold prices fall
    * Inmet shares fall nearly 2 percent on merger move

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed
almost 1 percent higher on Tuesday with financial and energy
shares leading the gains after investor confidence got a shot in
the arm from data showing a pick-up in German economic
sentiment.
    German analyst and investor sentiment soared to its highest
level since April 2010, beating all expectations with a third
successive increase. 
    News of a possible merger between Office Depot Inc, the No.
2 U.S. office supply retailer, and smaller rival OfficeMax Inc
lifted U.S. stocks and also encouraged the Canadian market.
    "The equity markets in Europe and the U.S. are very strong
today, and Canada is getting dragged along," said Levente Mady,
vice president and senior portfolio manager at PI Financial
Corp.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 unofficially closed up 123.58 points, or 0.97 percent,
at 12,810.21. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were
higher.
     "It's sentiment driven. You've seen a lot less negative
news flow and that is a positive for the market," said Kevin
Headland, director, portfolio advisory group, at Manulife Asset
Management.
    Shares of life insurer Great-West Lifeco were up
2.4 percent at C$27.43 after it was announced the Canadian
insurer is buying state-rescued insurer Irish Life for 1.3
billion euros ($1.7 billion) in a deal that increases
Great-West's presence in Ireland. 
    Financial shares, the index's weightiest sector, rose 1.2
percent, with Royal Bank of Canada up 1.8 percent at
C$64.43, and Toronto-Dominion Bank gaining 1.3 percent
to C$83.84.
    Several Canadian banks will report quarterly results next
week, and investors are looking for stronger profit margins and
growth.
    "Dividends remain intact and relative to the (broader) TSX
the banks remain very attractive to Canadian investors,"
Headland said.
    The energy sector advanced 1.1 percent, with TransCanada
Corp rising 1.3 percent to C$47.39, and Suncor Energy
Inc gaining 1.3 percent to C$32.17.
     Oil prices rose as traders grew bullish amid a rally in
U.S. stock markets, even as U.S. pipeline bottlenecks and
European economic concerns threatened to weigh on oil markets.
 
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped
0.2 percent, tracking lower gold prices.
    Gold fell near a six-month low on Tuesday, holding just
above $1,600 an ounce, as signs of an improving global economic
outlook dented bullion's safe-haven appeal. 
    In other company news, Inmet Mining Corp said it
would waive its so-called poison pill takeover defense against a
hostile offer by First Quantum Minerals Ltd and hinted
it may execute strategic alternatives to the C$5.1 billion
($5.05 billion) bid. Inmet's shares fell 1.9 percent to C$69.10.
FILED UNDER:
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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