CANADA STOCKS-TSX nears 3-year high as energy, BlackBerry shares gain

Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:48pm EST

* TSX rises 21.36 points, or 0.15 percent, to 14,227.08
    * Six of 10 main index sectors advance
    * BlackBerry jumps on plans to make BBM available to Windows
Phone

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
climbed on Monday to its highest in nearly 3 years as stronger
oil prices helped push up shares of energy producers and shares
of BlackBerry Ltd jumped. 
    BlackBerry shot up 6.9 percent after the smartphone maker
said it will make its messaging service BBM available to
Microsoft's Windows Phone and the upcoming Nokia X
platforms. A Bloomberg report saying Ford Motor Co plans
to base its next-generation Sync system on BlackBerry's QNX
platform also supported the share move. 
    Investors were encouraged by data showing an improvement in
German business morale, which beat market expectations in
February to hit its strongest level since July 2011.
 
    And the market shrugged off a 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,
has advanced in 13 of the last 14 sessions. 
    After underperforming U.S. stock markets in 2013, the
benchmark Canadian index has bounced back strongly. It is up
about 4.4 percent this year.
    "We're seeing strong momentum on the upside. We don't see
that changing anytime soon," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at
Global Securities in Vancouver. "It does feel like investors are
jumping on the bandwagon for fear of being left behind."
    "The fundamentals are very much in place for a continuation
of the rally," he added. "You've got strong earnings growth,
you've got low inflation and you've got central banks that are
cooperative."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 21.36 points, or 0.15 percent, at 14,227.08,
after reaching its highest since early 2011.
    Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Gold-mining shares benefited from a 1-percent gain in the
price of bullion, with Barrick Gold Corp advancing 1
percent to C$23.52.
    Shares of energy producers rose 0.8 percent. Suncor Energy
Inc added 0.9 percent to C$36.97, and Encana Corp jumped
2.1 percent to C$21.47.
    Investors also turned their attention to the major Canadian
banks, which will begin reporting quarterly results this week.
Bank of Montreal will report on Tuesday.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, were
little changed, with Bank of Nova Scotia climbing 0.3
percent to C$63.51.
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