CANADA STOCKS-TSX advances as energy shares, BlackBerry drive gains

Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:58pm EDT

* TSX rises 22.88 points, or 0.18 percent, to 12,858.49
    * Six of 10 main sectors advance
    * Aeterna falls 22 pct after plan to halt cancer drug trial

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 11 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
closed higher on Monday, helped by gains in the energy sector
and a 14 percent jump in BlackBerry shares on takeover
speculation and U.S. market launch plans.
    BlackBerry shares gained after U.S. wireless carrier AT&T
Inc said it would start selling the highly anticipated
BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen smartphone to customers by March 22,
with early sales of the devices to begin on Tuesday.
 
    Comments from the head of China's Lenovo Group Ltd
, who said the personal computer maker might consider
an acquisition of Canada's BlackBerry in the future, also fueled
the gains.
    "Hope springs eternal that it's going to be the turnaround
story," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.
    "It's a typical momentum stock, and right now the mo' is
going on the upside."
    BlackBerry's stock climbed to C$15.29, helping the
information technology sector rise 3.7 percent.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 unofficially closed up 22.88 points, or 0.18 percent,
at 12,858.49. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were
higher.
    The energy sector gained 0.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc
, Canada's largest energy company, was up 0.4 percent to
C$31.58.
     Financials, the index's weightiest sector, added 0.2
percent, with Royal Bank of Canada up 0.4 percent at
C$62.65.
    Investors also tracked data from China that showed inflation
at a 10-month high in February, and that factory output and
consumer spending were weaker than forecast. Imports were also
surprisingly weak, falling 15.2 percent from a year earlier to
13-month lows and highlighting vulnerability in the economy.
 
    "With weaker imports, that's a reflection that perhaps
they're entering into a stage of destocking, or the economic
activity continues to moderate," said Philip Petursson, managing
director, portfolio advisory group, at Manulife Asset
Management.
    "The marginal demand for commodities comes from China," he
added. "If we start to see that demand slow down, that will have
a negative impact on commodity prices and, as such, a negative
impact on commodity producers."
    In company news, Aeterna Zentaris Inc said it would
discontinue a late-stage trial of a cancer drug after an
independent data safety monitoring committee said the drug was
unlikely to help increase patient survival. The drugmaker's
stock fell 22 percent to C$2.09.
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