CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises for 7th day, helped by China data

Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:11am EST

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* TSX rises 59.01 points, or 0.43 percent, to 13,940.40
    * Seven of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Air Canada, Rogers fall after quarterly reports
    * Energy shares gain with oil price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
climbed for a seventh straight session on Wednesday, boosted by
strong Chinese trade data and relief over a U.S. debt ceiling
deal.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, which is up
about 2.3 percent this year, touched its highest level in nearly
three weeks.
    The market optimism offset sharp declines in Air Canada
 and Rogers Communications Inc after the two
companies reported quarterly results.
    Data that showed Chinese import growth in January touched a
six-month high eased some concerns about the health of the world
second-biggest economy. The upbeat numbers
helped push up oil prices and the shares of energy companies. 
    News that the U.S. House of Representatives had approved a
one-year extension of federal borrowing authority provided
further support to the market.
    "With the debt ceiling agreement in the United States, it
takes one uncertainty off the table and that is being reflected
in the positive mood in the market," said Shailesh Kshatriya,
associate director for client investment strategies at Russell
Investments Canada.
    "The Chinese data, although it's choppy, is firming,
signaling that it's not going to decelerate sharply from where
we are," he added.
    The Toronto stock market's S&P/TSX composite index 
was up 59.01 points, or 0.43 percent, at 13,940.40.
    Kshatriya said he expects the index to lag its U.S.
counterparts this year, expressing caution about growth in
Canada's economy and in the natural resource sectors.
    Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on
Wednesday.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained
0.8 percent. Manulife Financial Corp advanced 1.8
percent to C$20.84, and Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.8
percent to C$62.52.
    With a rise in the prices of Brent and U.S. crude oil,
energy shares added 0.9 percent. In the group, Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd was up nearly 2 percent at C$38.40.
    Shares of Air Canada tumbled 10.5 percent to C$7 after the
carrier said it expected weakness in the Canadian dollar and
adverse weather conditions to hurt its core earnings in the
current quarter. The stock had the biggest percentage decline on
the index. 
    Rogers Communications reported declines in quarterly profit
and revenue, hurt by a government-mandated changes to its
wireless pricing strategy and the cost of broadcasting more
hockey games. The stock gave back 4.8 percent to C$43.49.
 
    Shares of Canada Bread Co jumped 7.1 percent to
C$72.05 after the company said Mexico's Grupo Bimbo 
will buy it for C$1.83 billion ($1.66 billion) in cash.
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