CANADA STOCKS-Gold miners take TSX to 2-1/2-year high

Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:32pm EST

* TSX rises 56.63 points, or 0.41 percent, to 13,888.21
    * Index up 1 percent this week
    * Six of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Gold-mining sector jumps 3.9 percent

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
climbed on Friday to its highest in 2-1/2 years as rising
bullion prices helped push up gold-mining shares such as Barrick
Gold Corp and Goldcorp Inc, offsetting a weak
performance by the industrial sector.
    Trading volumes were also strong, with about 397 million
shares changing hands, compared with an average daily volume of
about 316 million shares in December, according to Thomson
Reuters data and figures from market operator TMX Group.
    Investors were also tracking data that showed a drop in U.S.
housing starts in December that might have been partly the
result of frigid weather during the month. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, which gained
9.6 percent last year, has advanced in eight of the last nine
sessions. It added about 1 percent this week.
    Some investors are hoping that the upcoming Canadian
earnings season will be another catalyst for the market.
    "The sentiment in the market is quite positive," said Ben
Jang, a portfolio manager who helps manage about C$2.5 billion
in assets at Nicola Wealth Management.  
    "With momentum pushing the TSX Composite up, (investors) are
relying on earnings to give something concrete to help move the
markets further," he added.
    The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index closed up
56.63 points, or 0.41 percent, at 13,888.21, after touching
13,910.38, its highest level since mid-2011.
    Jang expects the Canadian market to gain 8 to 9 percent this
year but slightly lag U.S. stock market growth. "The overall
commodity space will be quite volatile," he said.
    Six of the TSX index's 10 main sectors were higher on
Friday.
    Shares of gold producers jumped 3.9 percent, reflecting a 1
percent gain in the bullion price. Barrick rose 3.5 percent to
C$20.61, and Goldcorp Inc firmed 4.3 percent to C$25.43.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted group,
advanced 0.3 percent. Bank of Montreal was trading up
0.5 percent, at C$72.65.
    But the industrial sector gave back 0.3 percent. Bombardier
Inc slipped 1.4 percent to C$4.11, and Canadian
National Railway Co lost 0.1 percent to C$58.58.
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