CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-1/2 week high as gold price boosts miners
* TSX rises 17 points, or 0.14 percent, to 12,225.87 * Six of 10 main index sectors decline * Couche-Tard slips, biggest drag on market By John Tilak TORONTO, July 9 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index climbed on Tuesday to its highest in more than two weeks as advances in gold miners, which rose with the bullion price, overcame a decline in Alimentation Couche-Tard after the retailer reported quarterly results. A positive start to the U.S. earnings season, which kicked off with Alcoa's higher-than-expected adjusted profit report, further boosted investor sentiment. Couche-Tard gave back 5.6 percent after its fourth-quarter results missed market expectations and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market lower. A drop in the price of oil, following an easing of supply worries, contributed to a decline in energy shares. The market has been trying to balance the benefits of better economic data, such as Friday's positive U.S. jobs report, with the likelihood of the U.S. Federal Reserve's starting to pull back from its bond buying later this year. "We're seeing a split focus where investors are focused on equity markets as well as interest rates and returns out of the bond markets," said Craig Fehr, a strategist at Edward Jones. "Investors are taking a bit of a pause trying to digest better data against the prospect of less stimulus." "As the Fed begins to taper its bond purchases and slow down its stimulus," he added, investors are wondering "what does that mean for enthusiasm and returns in the equity markets and the bond markets?" The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 17 points, or 0.14 percent, at 12,225.87, after reaching 12,247.06, its highest since June 20. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red. Shares of energy producers fell in choppy trade. Suncor Energy Inc gave back 0.2 percent to C$31.53. But financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, and industrials were up slightly. The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, made the strongest gain, adding 1.6 percent. Gold producers benefited from a higher bullion price, which hit a one-week high. Goldcorp Inc rose 2.7 percent to C$25.57, and Barrick Gold Corp climbed 1.9 percent to C$14.85. Investors also focused on BlackBerry's annual general meeting where it is facing some tough questions about its future after a recent quarterly report fueled a huge selloff. BlackBerry advanced 2 percent to C$10.30.
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