CANADA STOCKS-Telus, banks help TSX overcome soft data

Thu May 16, 2013 4:53pm EDT

* TSX rises 33.95 points, or 0.27 percent, to 12,507.60
    * Seven of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Telus up 1.1 percent on plans to buy Mobilicity

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, May 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
advanced on Thursday, boosted by stronger financial stocks and a
move by telecoms company Telus Corp to acquire a smaller
wireless carrier.
    Telus said it will pay C$380 million ($370 million) for
Mobilicity, whose recent entry into the industry helped force
prices down, even though the debt-laden company failed to draw
many customers. 
    The index's gains were kept in check by sluggish economic
data from Europe and the United States, which weighed on the
prices of some commodities.
    Data showed U.S. jobless claims rose sharply last week and
ground-breaking at home construction sites tumbled in April. In
Europe, falling prices in Germany and France pulled euro zone
consumer inflation to a three-year low in April, while imports
fell 10 percent in March.  
    "The markets have taken (the data) with a grain of salt and
continued to grind higher," said Youssef Zohny, portfolio
manager at Stenner Investment Partners, a unit of Richardson
GMP.
    "We are in a tug-of-war," he added. "We're seeing
weaker-than-expected economic data, which is being counteracted
by monetary stimulus around the world."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 33.95 points, or 0.27 percent, at 12,507.60.
    "The mood is caution," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity
trading at ScotiaMcLeod. "The strength is coming in areas where
people are looking for income and dividends."
    He said sectors such as utilities, telecoms, and financials
were drawing the greatest interest from investors.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.3
percent. 
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, was up
0.5 percent. In the group, fertilizer producer Potash Corp
 rose 1.3 percent to C$44.67 and played the biggest role
of any single stock in leading the index higher after announcing
a dividend increase on Wednesday.
    A rise in the price of oil helped energy shares climb 0.2
percent, while industrials rose 1.2 percent.
    Telus shares gained 1.1 percent to C$37.34. They are up
about 5 percent since completing a two-for-one stock split on
April 17.
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