CANADA STOCKS-TSX climbs as Empire rallies on Safeway takeover move

Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:28am EDT

* TSX up 8.74 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,118.63
    * Five of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Empire Co rises 11 percent on Safeway takeover plan
    * TD Bank biggest positive influence on index

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, June 13 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock climbed on
Thursday as worries about the fate of central bank stimulus
plans were offset by a jump in Empire Co Ltd after the
company said it will buy Safeway Inc's Canadian assets
for $5.7 billion. 
    Shares of Empire, the operator of grocery chain Sobeys,
jumped 11 percent after investors and analysts cheered the move,
which will nearly double Sobeys reach in Western Canada.
 
    The index had opened lower, tracking a global equities
selloff on worries that major central banks might start dialing
back their monetary stimulus programs, and hit a seven-week low
before recovering.
    "People are still a little edgy, a little nervous," said
Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. "Everyone knows
that the central bank stimulation is going to come to an end."
    "It's good news and bad news," he added. "The good news is
they're eventually going to reduce quantitative easing due to
the fact the economy is getting better."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 8.74 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,118.63.
Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Empire's jump helped the consumer staples sector gain 0.7
percent. Some other retailers in the group also made gains.
Loblaw Companies Ltd was up 1.3 percent at C$47.04, and
Alimentation Couche-Tard was up 1.9 percent at
C$58.07, also made gains.
    "You're going to see more M&A just like this," Michael said.
    "It's a buy versus build decision (for Empire)," he added.
"It's cheaper to buy a company in the marketplace than to build
that company up from scratch." 
    The financials sector, the index's most heavily weighted,
was up 0.6 percent. In the group, Toronto-Dominion Bank 
rose 0.9 percent to $81.54 and played the biggest role of any
single stock in leading the index higher.
    The information technology group added 1.5 percent, with
smartphone maker BlackBerry climbing 5.1 percent to
C$14.58.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped
0.6 percent, and energy shares fell 0.4 percent.
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