CANADA STOCKS-TSX at record high for first time since 2008, obstacles loom

Wed Jul 2, 2014 6:09pm EDT

* TSX ends above levels last since before global financial
crisis
    * Index up 63.78 points, or 0.42 percent, at 15,209.79, tops
June 2008 record
    * Timmins shares slip after settlement with shareholder

 (Adds strategist comment, auto sales and manufacturing data,
updates prices to close)
    By John Tilak and Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, July 2 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit
its highest-ever level on Wednesday as stronger-than-expected
U.S. private sector jobs data helped lift banks, oil companies
and miners.
    The bump into territory last visited before the financial
crisis could yet be threatened by the larger non-farm payrolls
data from the U.S. government on Thursday.
    The advances have renewed concerns that valuations might be
getting stretched.
    "The market just doesn't want to lie down. It is chugging
ahead and probably moving into overbought territory," said David
Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland
Wealth Management.
    "There's a lot of investment money out there," he added.
"The market will continue to drift up until something causes a
shock. It's a bit unnerving that the market hasn't had a
shakeout."
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 ended 63.78 points higher, or up 0.42 percent, at
15,209.79. 
    It traded as high as 15,223.04 in the session. The all-time
high was the first since 2008.
    The milestone comes on the heels of the Canadian benchmark
index's gains in 11 of the previous 12 months and an 11.5
percent rise since the start of the year.
    "It's 'all systems go' for the TSX. It does seem like
everything is falling into place for the global equity markets,"
said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities in
Vancouver.
    A report from payrolls processor ADP showed U.S. companies
hired more workers in June than they did in any month since
November 2012. The data beat market expectations.
 
    Canada is heavily dependant on trade with its southern
neighbor, and so signs of recovery in the United States tend to
bode well for many of the country's largest corporates.
    Adding to the positive mood, industry data showed that
automakers sold a record number of cars and trucks in Canada for
the month of June, while domestic manufacturing also picked up
pace.  
    Royal Bank of Canada, the country's largest lender, had the
biggest positive impact on the index, adding almost 1 percent to
C$77.01. Overall, financials climbed 0.5 percent. 
    Insurers Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial
 each gained over 1 percent, to C$21.43 and C$39.71
respectively.
    Suncor Energy Inc gained 0.9 percent to C$45.92 as
U.S. data showed domestic crude stocks had fallen more than
expected, while Teck Resources jumped 4.3 percent to C$21.43 as
copper and some precious metal prices rose.  
    The industrial group rose 0.5 percent, with Canadian
National Railway Co added 0.9 percent to C$70.05.
    In corporate news, Timmins Gold Corp ended a proxy
battle by ceding a board seat to an activist nominee. Its shares
slipped more than 5 percent, to C$1.81. 

 (Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Andrew Hay)