CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on Fed remarks, posts ninth month of gains

Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:08pm EDT

* TSX rises 74.59 points, or 0.52 percent, to 14,335.31
    * Eight of the 10 main index sectors advance
    * Index records ninth straight monthly gain
    * Encana slips after news of asset sale
    * Martinrea jumps after saying CEO to leave

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
gained on Monday after the U.S. Federal Reserve's assurance of
continued support for the economy lifted sentiment and helped
drive up shares of financial and energy companies.
    Fed Chair Janet Yellen said measures by the central bank to
boost the U.S. economy will be necessary for some time to come.
 
    Investors were also encouraged by data showing the Canadian
economy rebounded more strongly than expected in January from a
decline in December. 
    The Toronto stock market's benchmark index recorded its
ninth straight monthly gain. It advanced 5.2 percent this
quarter, making it one of the strongest performers among major
global indexes. 
    "It speaks to the fact that the TSX has come back in favor
this quarter," said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global
Securities in Vancouver. "We continue to argue that there is
much better value in the Canadian side than there is in the
United States."
    "But it's high time that equity markets stand on their own
two feet without relying on this constant promise of stimulus
from the Fed," Picardo added. "The tendency of the markets to
react to every piece of news that comes out of the Fed is a
little unhealthy."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 closed up 74.59 points, or 0.52 percent, at 14,335.31.
    Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector,
climbed 0.7 percent. Royal Bank of Canada added 0.6
percent to C$72.89, and Bank of Nova Scotia advanced
0.7 percent to C$64.03.
    Shares of energy producers shrugged off declines in the
price of oil. Suncor Energy Inc was up 1.1 percent at
C$38.61.
    In corporate news, Encana Corp said it would sell
some natural gas assets in Wyoming's Jonah field to a TPG
Capital affiliate for about $1.8 billion. Encana shares slipped
0.4 percent to C$23.61.
    Martinrea International Inc jumped 13.7 percent to
C$9.97 after the auto parts maker said that Nick Orlando will
step down as its president and chief executive officer. 
    Telus Corp shed 1.8 percent after the
telecommunications company said Chief Executive Officer Darren
Entwistle is set to become executive chairman and Joe Natale,
who is currently its chief commercial officer, will replace him.
    ($1=$1.10 Canadian)

 (Editing by Peter Galloway)
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