CANADA STOCKS-Data, BlackBerry take TSX to three-month high

Thu Sep 5, 2013 5:33pm EDT

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* TSX rises 87.25 points, or 0.68 percent, to 12,845.06
    * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance
    * RBC has biggest positive influence on the market
    * BlackBerry up nearly 3 percent on buyout speculation
    * Gold miners drop with bullion price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
for a third straight session on Thursday to its highest in more
than three months in reaction to  data showing economic growth
in the region and to Blackberry advancing amid
speculation for a potential sale.
    Most major sectors on the Toronto market traded in positive
territory, with financials having the biggest positive impact,
helping the benchmark outperform the S&P 500.
    After trailing its U.S. counterpart for most of the year,
the Canadian benchmark has gained more than 5 percent in the
quarter to date, surpassing the S&P 500's nearly 3 percent rise.
    "It speaks to the fact that buying is coming back into this
market," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of
research at Global Securities in Vancouver. "There seems to be
growing optimism that the Canadian economy has come out of a
lean patch and might close the year on a stronger-than-expected
note." 
    BlackBerry shares climbed 2.8 percent after a Wednesday
report from the Wall Street Journal said the smartphone maker's
board hopes to run a "fast" auction process that could result in
a sale of the company by November. 
    The market also processed news that U.S. President Barack
Obama was facing pressure from world leaders not to launch
military strikes on Syria, as well as moves by some central
banks to hold interest rates steady. 
    Data showed U.S. private employers added jobs in August, and
new claims for U.S. jobless benefits fell last week. A separate
report said the U.S. services sector grew in August at its
fastest pace in almost eight years. 
    Investors contemplated the Federal Reserve's next monetary
policy move as they looked to Friday's U.S. nonfarm payroll
report, seen as a major indicator of the economy's health.
    "Expectations that the Fed will begin tapering have been
building up," Picardo said. "Markets do believe that tapering is
inevitable, but what they don't want to see is unusually strong
numbers that would force the Fed's hand."
    Investors and market experts seem divided about when the Fed
could begin the stimulus wind-down.
    "Expectations of immediate tapering in the (Fed's) September
meeting might be a little aggressive," said Colin Cieszynski,
senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.
    "My suspicion is that you will see them talk about tapering
in September, but I don't think they'll actually do anything,"
he added.
    It could more likely happen in October, he said.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 87.25 points, or 0.68 percent, at 12,845.06,
after rising as much as 12,851.74, its highest level since May
22. 
    Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, rose
1.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 1.7 percent to
C$66.56 and had the biggest positive influence on the market;
Toronto Dominion Bank was up 1.5 percent, at C$91.65.
    Shares of energy companies reflected a jump in the price of
U.S. crude oil, which was up 1.3 percent.
    Suncor Energy Inc rose 1.2 percent to C$36.26, and
Encana Corp advanced 1.6 percent to C$18.38. 
    But the materials sector, which includes mining stocks, gave
back 1.6 percent on weakness in gold producers. Gold mining
shares tumbled 3.2 percent as the bullion price weakened. 
    Goldcorp Inc slipped 3.2 percent to C$30.48, and
Barrick Gold Corp lost 2.2 percent to C$19.95.
    BlackBerry's 2.8 percent rise put it at C$11.60. As a
result, the information technology group climbed 1.6 percent and
showed the sharpest gain of all major sectors.
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