CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises slightly as Valeant continues advance

Wed Jan 8, 2014 11:14am EST

* TSX rises 14.21 points, or 0.10 percent, to 13,611.14
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Valeant jumps 3.6 percent, up for second day
    * Gold miners drop 1.2 percent with bullion trading lower

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index was
slightly higher on Wednesday as a jump in the shares of Valeant
Pharmaceuticals International Inc helped overcome
weakness in the index's materials and financial sectors. 
    Valeant advanced for a second straight day, rising 3.6
percent, after the drugmaker said on Tuesday it plans to become
one of the world's top five pharmaceutical companies by market
capitalization by the end of 2016 and also released a bullish
forecast for 2014. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index traded in
positive territory for a second straight day after declining in
the first three sessions of 2014.
    "The market is directionless by and large. I'm expecting it
to be up and down for the next several weeks, if not months,"
said John Stephenson, senior vice president at First Asset
Investment Management Inc. 
    "The bigger story here is the United States doing much
better, with Canada tagging along, and Europe not being as much
of a problem as it has been in the past years," he added.
"That's a good backdrop for us."
    Investors also digested a bullish U.S. private jobs report,
ahead of nonfarm payrolls data set for release on Friday.
    Figures from payrolls processor ADP on Wednesday showed U.S.
private employers added a more jobs than expected in December,
posting the strongest increase in 13 months. 
    "The ADP number portends well for Friday's jobs report,
which will be the most closely watched piece of news on both
sides of the border," Stephenson said.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 14.21 points, or 0.10 percent, at 13,611.14.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Valeant's jump, to C$139.90, helped push the healthcare
sector up 1.6 percent.
    Financials slipped 0.1 percent, with Toronto-Dominion Bank
 losing 0.4 percent to C$97.51.
    Gold-mining shares dropped 1.2 percent, pulled lower by a
declining bullion price. Barrick Gold Corp was down 1.7
percent at C$19.33, and Goldcorp Inc gave back 1.7
percent to C$23.70.
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