CANADA STOCKS-U.S. data, earnings hopes lift TSX to 2-week high

Mon Jul 8, 2013 11:20am EDT

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* TSX rises 78.06 points, or 0.64 percent, to 12,212.97
    * Seven of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Manulife jumps to play market's biggest influence

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, July 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
advanced on Monday to hit a two-week high after positive U.S.
jobs data and optimism about the upcoming U.S. earnings season
lifted hopes about the economic recovery, driving gains across
most major sectors.
    Friday's U.S. jobs report showed stronger-than-expected
growth in June and raised expectations that the U.S. Federal
Reserve will start to dial back its stimulus program this year,
reflecting growing strength in the world's largest economy. 
    The market also set its sights on the U.S. earnings season,
which is expected to kick off later in the day as Alcoa Inc
 reports quarterly results after the closing bell.
    Investors are feeling more confident that the economic
recovery is picking up steam, said Gavin Graham, chief strategy
officer at Integris Pension Management Corp.
    "The domestic U.S. economy is doing quite nicely," he said,
adding recent data suggests that the private sector is
rebounding strongly. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 78.06 points, or 0.64 percent, at 12,212.97,
after reaching 12,219.84, its highest since June 20. 
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Despite Monday's gains, the benchmark Canadian index is down
about 1.8 percent since the start of the year.
    "There hasn't been much evidence of sentiment changing for
Canadian equities," said Graham. He says the TSX is being
weighed down in particular by the weak performance of gold
stocks, which are down about 46 percent this year.
     "People don't need the disaster insurance of gold if the
economy is picking up," Graham said. "You have people selling
off gold as the economy gets better."
     The bullion was up after a two-day sell-off. 
     Gold-mining shares climbed in choppy trade, helping the
materials group gain 0.8 percent.
    Barrick Gold Corp, which hit a 21-year low in the
previous session, rose 1.6 percent to C$14.80, and Goldcorp Inc
 was up 0.9 percent at C$25.70.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added
0.7 percent.
    Insurer Manulife Financial Corp jumped more than 3
percent to C$17.83 and had the biggest positive influence on the
index. Royal Bank of Canada climbed 0.5 percent to
C$61.19.
    Energy shares were up 0.5 percent.
    TransCanada Corp advanced 1.4 percent to C$46.24.
    Investors also paid attention to BlackBerry as the
smartphone maker's annual general meeting will take place on
Tuesday. The stock edged lower and was a drag on the information
technology group.
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