CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises as golds jump after Fed comments; BMO gains

Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:00pm EST

* TSX rises 9.57 points, or 0.08 percent, to 12,660.44
    * Six of 10 main sectors decline
    * BMO shares rise more than 1 percent after results

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index closed
higher on Tuesday, led by a rise in gold shares, after Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments defending the U.S.
central bank's stimulus boosted the appeal of the bullion as an
inflation hedge, driving up gold prices.
    Bernanke strongly defended the central bank's bond-buying
stimulus in testimony before Congress, saying its benefits
clearly exceed possible costs. 
    Shares of Bank of Montreal, Canada's fourth-largest
bank, rose about 1.3 percent after the company reported a core
profit that topped expectations on the back of higher
markets-related revenue. 
    "The fundamentals are lining up reasonably well for the
TSX," said Julie Brough, vice president at Morgan Meighen &
Associates.
    She said the Canadian market is likely to climb further by
the end of the year, helped by a pickup in the economy and signs
of strength in corporate earnings.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 9.57 points, or 0.08 percent, at 12,660.44.
However, six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the
red.
    The gains were kept in check by weakness in energy shares,
which tracked lower oil prices. 
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, added
0.9 percent. Gold prices rose 1.3 percent, making their biggest
one-day gain in three months. 
    Goldcorp Inc rose 2.4 percent to C$34.44, and Barrick
Gold Corp climbed 1.5 percent to C$32.07.
    Financials, the index's weightiest sector, were up 0.2
percent, with BMO's gains partially offset by a 0.5 percent
decline in Royal Bank of Canada, which fell to C$63.25.
    BMO, which reported results for its fiscal first quarter
ended Jan. 31, also raised its quarterly dividend, citing its
strong business performance and solid capital position.
    "It's a good sign for the rest of the banks," said Rick
Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH
Investments.
    RBC, National Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank
, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will
report quarterly results on Thursday, followed by Bank of Nova
Scotia next week.
    The uncertainty over the outcome of the Italian election was
a drag on oil prices, which fell to a one-month low.
    Energy shares fell 0.6 percent. Suncor Energy Inc,
Canada's largest energy company, slipped 1.4 percent to C$30.92.
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