CANADA STOCKS-Energy, gold companies help lift TSX to near 3-year high
* TSX rises 47.57 points, or 0.33 percent, to 13,253.29 * Nine of 10 main index sectors advance * BlackBerry jumps after plans to make BBM available to Windows Phone By John Tilak TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced on Monday to its highest in nearly 3 years, with higher commodity prices driving gains in natural resource shares and stronger-than-expected German data helping lift the overall mood. Data for February showed an improvement in German business morale, which beat market expectations and hit its strongest level since July 2011. Investors shrugged off as an report showing a slowdown in U.S. services sector growth and in the pace of hiring in February, with cold weather likely having an impact. The TSX, which is coming off three straight weekly gains, fell for the first time in 13 sessions on Friday. After underperforming U.S. stock markets in 2013, the benchmark Canadian index has bounced back strongly this year. It is up 4.6 percent this year. "Stocks are rebounding," said Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets Canada. "We're seeing a recovery in the energy and materials sectors, and that is being driven by the rebound in commodity prices. "We may be getting to the tipping point where Canada starts to improve," he added. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 47.57 points, or 0.33 percent, at 13,253.29, after reaching its highest since early 2011. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Gold-mining shares benefited from a 1-percent gain in the price of bullion. Barrick Gold Corp advanced 0.5 percent to C$23.40, and Goldcorp Inc was up 0.3 percent at C$30.77. Shares of energy producers jumped 1 percent. Suncor Energy Inc added 1 percent to C$37.02, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd rose 1.2 percent to C$41.63. Investors were also turned their attention to the major Canadian banks, which will begin unveiling quarterly results this week. Bank of Montreal will report on Tuesday. Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were up slightly, with Bank of Nova Scotia climbing 0.5 percent to C$63.62. In corporate news, BlackBerry shot up 7 percent, to C$10.88, after the smartphone maker said it will make its messaging service BBM available to Microsoft's Windows Phone and the upcoming Nokia X platforms in the coming months.
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