CANADA STOCKS-China data helps keep TSX steady; BlackBerry flat after bid

Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:18pm EDT

* TSX rises 4.71 points, or 0.04 percent, to 12,811.18
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * BlackBerry pares losses after news of takeover deal
    * Telecoms gain as U.S. carriers shun wireless auction

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged
higher on Monday as positive Chinese economic data and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel's election victory offset uncertainty
about U.S. Federal Reserve's  policy direction.
    Smartphone maker BlackBerry grabbed much of the
Toronto market's attention after it signed a tentative deal to
be acquired by a consortium led by its biggest shareholder,
Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, for $4.7 billion.
 
    BlackBerry stock, which was down nearly 7 percent in early
trading, rebounded after news of the deal and ended the day at
C$9.08, unchanged from Friday's closing price. On Friday, the
company said it will report a huge quarterly loss and cut more
than a third of its global workforce. 
    Fairfax closed up 1.1 percent at C$420.45.
    More generally, the market was encouraged by a slew of
surveys that showed a burst of new orders for businesses in
China and Europe, suggesting a rebound in those economies.
 
    In Germany, Merkel began trying to persuade her center-left
rivals to keep her in power after her conservatives notched up
their best election result in more than two decades but fell
short of an absolute majority. 
    The market remained focused on the Fed's next steps after
the U.S. central bank surprised markets last week by keeping its
stimulus program fully in place.
    "Overall the tone is positive," said Elvis Picardo,
strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities
in Vancouver. "There's a lot of money on the sidelines. We've
been telling our clients to get in."
    The biggest gains were recorded in the telecoms sector.
    After top U.S. telecommunications companies declined to
register for a Canadian wireless spectrum auction, shares of the
major Canadian incumbents gained.
    BCE Inc advanced 1.3 percent to C$44.51, Rogers
Communications Inc was up 1.2 percent at C$45.36, and
Telus Corp rose 2.5 percent to C$35.44.
    "Now that concerns about foreign competition have waned, the
sector is back again in focus," Picardo said. "On that note, the
Fed's announcement last week has put some new life into
dividend-paying stocks."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 4.71 points, or 0.04 percent, at 12,811.18.
It has gained about 5.6 percent this quarter. 
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
climbed 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's
biggest lender, rose 0.5 percent to C$66.26, and
Toronto-Dominion Bank added 0.3 percent to C$91.35.
    But the healthcare group shed 2.1 percent.
    Pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran Corp dropped 4.7
percent to C$49.29, and the drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals
International gave back 1.1 percent to C$106.
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