CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-1/2-year high on China data

Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:07am EST

* TSX rises 86.16 points, or 0.62 percent, to 13,974.37
    * All of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Index up about 2.6 percent this year
    * Materials stocks benefit from higher commodity prices

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose
sharply on Monday as positive economic data from China helped
support advances in all of its major sectors, taking the
benchmark to its highest in 2-1/2 years.
    A slight increase in prices of commodities such as gold and
silver also provided support and was a source of strength in the
materials sector. 
    Investors were encouraged by data that showed China's
economy grew 7.7 percent in 2013. The gain was flat from 2012
and above market expectations for a 7.6 percent expansion.
 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark S&P/TSX index, which
has risen in nine of the last 10 sessions, is up about 2.6
percent this year.
    After lagging the S&P 500 in 2013, the TSX has so far
this year outperformed U.S. stock markets, which were closed on
Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. 
    "From now on, you'll see the TSX performing with, or a
little bit better than, the U.S. market," said David Cockfield,
managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth
Management.
    "We're getting back to a calmer, less jittery market," he
added. "People are going to be more interested in long-term
performance and what the fundamentals for stocks look like."
    The S&P/TSX composite index was up 86.16 points,
or 0.62 percent, at 13,974.37, its highest level since mid 2011.
    About 68 million shares had changed hands at midmorning,
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.
    All of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained
0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada, the country's biggest
lender, added 0.9 percent to C$72.48. Bank of Nova Scotia
 rose 0.8 percent to C$64.38.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, advanced
1.1 percent. Barrick Gold Corp jumped 2.3 percent to
C$21.09, and diversified miner Teck Resources Ltd 
climbed 1.2 percent to C$29.01.
    In corporate news, Australian uranium producer Paladin
Energy Ltd  agreed to sell a stake in its
Namibia mine. The company's shares shot up 9.1 percent in
Toronto, to 60 Canadian cents.
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