CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-1/2 week high as gold price boosts miners

Tue Jul 9, 2013 11:38am EDT

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* 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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