CANADA STOCKS-BlackBerry, Valeant pace TSX rise as Fed keeps stimulus

Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:02pm EDT

* TSX up 52.68 points, or 0.41 percent, at 12,826.55
    * All 10 main sectors advance
    * BlackBerry shares rise 7.2 pct on rating upgrade
    * Valeant shares rise 2.5 pct on move to buy Obagi Medical

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
on Wednesday as the U.S. Federal Reserve stuck with its
bond-buying stimulus plan, and as higher oil prices pushed up
energy shares.
    The index also got a lift from a 7.2 percent jump in
BlackBerry after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the
smartphone maker's stock, and from a 2.5 percent rise in Valeant
Pharmaceuticals International Inc after the drugmaker
said it would make an acquisition.
    The Fed pressed forward with its aggressive efforts to
stimulate the U.S. economy, saying it would take into account
risks posed by its policies but also how much progress it was
making in lowering unemployment. 
    "The continued growth in the United States will help put a
floor under the TSX and even translate into gains down the
road," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of
research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
    "Unless we have a big market decline, the TSX should power
ahead, led largely by the materials and energy groups," he
added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 52.68 points, or 0.41 percent, at 12,826.55.
All the 10 main sectors on the index advanced. 
    Toronto stocks were recovering from declines recorded in the
previous two sessions on fears of a Cyprus default and banking
meltdown.
    Market strategists expect Canadian stocks will rise 8
percent this year, a Reuters poll found, with an improving
global economy expected to boost the badly lagging shares of
Canadian natural resource companies. 
    The index's energy sector added 0.2 percent as the price of
oil rebounded from the three-month low it hit in the previous
session. In the group, oil company Canadian Natural Resources
Ltd climbed 1 percent to C$33.62.
    BlackBerry shares rose to C$16.53, driving the information
technology sector up 2.6 percent. Analysts at Morgan Stanley
doubled their price target for the stock, saying they expect the
company's new BlackBerry 10 devices to boost margins. 
 
    "The stock has had a big run. What's happening to BlackBerry
is indicative of the risk appetite in the market at large," said
Picardo. BlackBerry shares have more than doubled since hitting
a 52-week low in September.
    "You're seeing a return to riskier assets, but sentiment can
turn sharply," he cautioned. "We've been telling our clients to
hold back a little and not chase the market."
    Valeant said it would buy Obagi Medical Products Inc
 for about $344 million to boost its dermatology
business. 
     Valeant shares closed at C$75.21 and played the biggest
role of any single stock in leading the market higher. As a
result, the healthcare sector was up 1.5 percent.
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