CANADA STOCKS-TSX up for 7th day, rallies on China data, U.S. deal

Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:03pm EST

* TSX rises 19.50 points, or 0.14 percent, to 13,900.49
    * Five of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Air Canada, Rogers slip after quarterly reports
    * Energy shares gain with oil price

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index ended
higher for a seventh straight session on Wednesday as bullish
Chinese trade data eased economic growth concerns and as U.S.
lawmakers reached a deal on debt ceiling limits, resolving a
long-standing impasse.
    Market optimism spurred by the U.S. and Chinese news offset
sharp declines in shares of Air Canada and Rogers
Communications Inc after the two companies reported
quarterly results.
    Data showing that Chinese import growth in January touched a
six-month high relieved some worries about the health of the
world's second-biggest economy. The upbeat
numbers helped push up oil prices and the shares of energy
companies. 
    News that the U.S. Congress had approved a one-year
extension of federal borrowing authority provided further
support to the market. 
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index, up about 2
percent this year, touched its highest level in nearly three
weeks, suggesting that the market might have overcome a surge in
volatility triggered by worries about turmoil in emerging
markets.
    "The numbers in China were a positive. Investors are taking
some comfort in that," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global
Securities in Vancouver. 
    "Overall it seems like some of the panic that was induced by
the emerging markets seems to have dissipated," he added. "The
buying has come in, and that's a good thing."
    The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 19.50
points, or 0.14 percent, at 13,900.49.
    Canadian equities are starting to look more attractive than
U.S. stocks as the resource-sensitive market is likely to
benefit from an uptick in the global economy, said Picardo, who
sees double-digit growth for the TSX in 2014.
    Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on
Wednesday.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gained
0.7 percent. Manulife Financial Corp advanced 2.1
percent to C$20.91, and Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.5
percent to C$62.33.
    With a rise in the price of U.S. crude oil, energy shares
added 1.2 percent. In the group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd
 was up 2.2 percent at C$38.50.
    Shares of Air Canada tumbled 20.5 percent to C$6.22 after
the carrier said it expected weakness in the Canadian dollar and
adverse weather conditions to hurt 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 government-mandated changes to its wireless
pricing strategy and the cost of broadcasting more hockey games.
The stock gave back 5.3 percent to C$43.28. 
    Shares of Canada Bread Co jumped 7.3 percent to
C$72.20 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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