CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits two-week high as Ukraine concerns ease

Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:12am EDT

* TSX up 31.19 points, or 0.20 percent, at 15,335.43
    * Eight of 10 main index sectors advance
    * Gold miners down as bullion price declines

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
reached its highest level in more than two weeks on Monday as
the risk of a further escalation of the conflict in Ukraine
appeared to diminish, boasting gains in most major sectors.
    Fears of a broader regional conflagration over Ukraine
started to ease after Russia said on Sunday that weekend talks
among foreign ministers made progress in resolving differences.
    Even so, investors remained unsettled when Ukraine accused
pro-Russian rebels on Monday of shooting rocket fire on a convoy
of buses of refugees, killing people trapped in burning vehicles
but the separatists denied responsibility. 
   "Nobody wants to see a war in Europe. The fact that Putin is
pulling back makes everybody a little more comfortable," said
David Baskin, portfolio manager and president of Baskin
Financial Services.
    The Toronto market was up for a third straight session and
has gained nearly 13 percent this year. Investors are wondering
if stock prices might have run ahead of themselves.
    "The market is certainly not cheap. You have to hunt to find
cheap stocks right now," Baskin said.
    However, he said that sectors such as oil sands and
telecommunications still offer good value in the Canadian
market.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was up 31.19 points, or 0.20 percent, at 15,335.43.
Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added
0.6 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada climbing 0.8
percent to C$80.52 and Bank of Nova Scotia advancing
0.6 percent to C$72.83.
    Shares of industrial companies rose 0.6 percent. Air Canada
 jumped 4.7 percent to C$8.39.
    The gold-mining sector slipped with the price of bullion.
Barrick Gold Corp shed 1.2 percent to C$20.40, and
Goldcorp Inc declined 0.9 percent to C$30.87.

 (Editing by W Simon)
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