CANADA STOCKS-Bank, energy shares push TSX up despite Cyprus worry
* TSX up 27.70 points, or 0.22 percent, at 12,809.06 * Nine of 10 main index sectors advance * Rona shares up 4 percent on CEO appointment By John Tilak TORONTO, March 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Tuesday with strength in financial and energy shares offsetting a drop in the materials sector, as equity investors largely looked past a crucial vote in Cyprus that threatened to push the island into default. Supporting the market was data that showed groundbreakings for U.S. homes rose in February and that new permits for construction climbed to the highest level since 2008, a sign the U.S. housing recovery is gathering steam. Cyprus's parliament was set to vote to reject a divisive euro zone bailout plan that would tax bank deposits. Rejection was seen pushing the island closer to a debt default and banking collapse. "Investors seem to be willing to assume that this will be contained," said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy. "The market seems to accept the assurances that they will come up with some compromise that will be acceptable." "But the long-term repercussions are very, very serious," he added. "Canadian investors should be concerned about the knock-on effects (on the euro zone)." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 27.70 points, or 0.22 percent, at 12,809.06. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Financials, the index's weightiest sector, rose 0.4 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada up 0.3 percent at C$61.41, and Bank of Montreal rising 0.5 percent to C$64.11. Pipeline company TransCanada Corp added 1.1 percent to C$49.46 and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the index higher. Its move helped the energy sector gain 0.2 percent despite falling oil prices Shares of Rona Inc, a home-improvement retailer and distributor, climbed 4 percent to C$10.98 after it said Metro Inc executive Robert Sawyer will take over as its chief executive as it looks to turnaround its business. Graham said he views Sawyer's experience at grocer Metro as a positive. "He comes with a good pedigree. He understands the Québec market, as well as the Anglophone market." Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc fell 4.8 percent to C$64.27. Analysts trimmed their expectations on the clothing maker a day after it warned that a recall of batches of its black signature yoga pants would significantly affect its results. The materials group, which includes mining stocks, slipped 0.1 percent. A nearly 3 percent in Teck Resources Ltd to C$28.96 weighed on the sector.
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