CANADA STOCKS-TSX jumps to one-week high as Fed cuts bond buying

Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:32pm EST

* TSX rises 154.57 points, or 1.17 percent, to 13,334.73
    * All of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Barrick Gold declines after directors leave

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
climbed to a one-week high on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal
Reserve said it will begin scaling back its asset purchase
program.
    The market has been fixated in recent months on when the Fed
will start rolling back its stimulative bond purchases, which
have injected trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy since
the program's inception.
    With the world's biggest economy showing greater signs of
acceleration, investor expectations that the U.S. central bank
might soon start to take its foot off the gas pedal had been
gathering momentum. 
    Despite fears of a massive selloff in the face of a cutback,
the Toronto market quickly moved higher after some choppiness
immediately after the Fed made its announcement.
    "It was very warm reception," said Elvis Picardo, strategist
and vice president of research at Global Securities in
Vancouver. "It's one thing that's out of the way."
    "All the indicators show that the U.S. economy is poised to
grow at a faster rate next year," he added.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 154.57 points, or 1.17 percent, at 13,334.73
after rising as high as 13,358.10, its highest since Dec. 10. 
    The Fed also suggested its key interest rate would stay low
for even longer than previously promised. 
    That supported sections of the market, such as insurance
companies, that are considered interest-rate sensitive. Manulife
Financial Corp jumped 2.5 percent to C$20.23.
    "I think they're going in the right direction," said Adrian
Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management. "I would
agree with the Fed that rates aren't going to go very far in the
near future."
    "It's volatile, and that's one thing investors have to be in
tune with," he added. "It's going to be volatile from here."
    All of the 10 main sectors on the index rose on Wednesday.
    Financials jumped 1.3 percent. Royal Bank of Canada,
the country's biggest lender, climbed 1.6 percent to C$69.85,
and Toronto-Dominion Bank added 1.7 percent to C$97.41.
    Energy shares received a boost from higher oil prices,
gaining 1.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc was up 2.5
percent at C$36.40, and Enbridge Inc rose 2.1 percent
to C$44.85.
    In corporate news, Barrick Gold Corp said on
Tuesday that two long-time directors, Donald Carty and Robert
Franklin, have resigned from the company's board. The stock was
down 0.8 percent to C$18.08. 
    Shares of BlackBerry Ltd slipped 0.2 percent to
C$6.47 after the smartphone maker said on Tuesday that former
SAP executive John Sims will join the company as head of its
global enterprise services business.
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