CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on broad gains, playing catch-up

Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:22am EST

By Allison Martell
    TORONTO, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index opened
broadly higher on Friday, extending a two-week rally that has
been fed by growing optimism about global economic growth.
    Financial stocks, the mining-heavy materials sector and
energy shares led the index higher.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange was closed for the Boxing Day
holiday on Thursday, when U.S. equity markets, where many
Canadian companies also trade, pushed higher. 
    Paul Hand, managing director of RBC Capital Markets, said
Canadian stocks were catching up to their U.S. counterparts in
early trading. He said many traders were still on vacation.
    "The market has been basically in rally mode - there's been
very little news over the holiday period," he said. "The glass
has been half full for a lot of people in the last few months."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 touched 13,590.80, its highest intra-day level since
June 2011. The index was up 58.66 points, or 0.43 percent, at
13,576.68 about an hour into the session.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve's assurance last week that it would
keep its key interest rate at rock bottom longer than previously
promised - even as it trimmed asset purchases - kicked off a
global rally in stocks. 
    The news resolved uncertainty that had been hanging over the
markets, and investors were cheered by the fact that greater
confidence in the economic recovery had spurred on the Fed.
    On Friday, materials stocks gained 0.86 percent as gold
edged higher and copper prices hit their highest point in more
than four months, boosted by tightening supply and optimism
about the recovery.  
    Energy stocks rose 0.32 percent as oil prices rose, and
financial shares were up 0.31 percent. 
    Toronto-Dominion Bank played the biggest role in
pushing the index higher, rising 0.7 percent to C$99.68. Potash
Corp rose 1.9 percent to C$35.30 and Suncor Energy Inc
 rose 0.9 percent to C$37.21.
    In company news, Bega Cheese Ltd, the largest
shareholder in Saputo Inc's latest takeover target,
Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co Holdings Co,
said it is in talks with "non-Australian" investors on a
possible sale of its stake.
    In September Bega kicked off a takeover battle with dairy
giant Saputo and another Australian cheese maker, but the
company declined to extend its final offer last week. Saputo
rose 0.5 percent to C$48.64 in early trading.
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