* TSX closes up 107.24 points, or 0.86 percent, at 12,540.77
* All 10 major sectors advance in year's first session
* Resource-heavy index benefits as commodities rally
By Allison Martell
TORONTO, Jan 2 Canada's main stock index rose in
the year's first trading session on Wednesday, touching a
nine-month high, as commodities rallied on a deal to resolve the
high-stakes U.S. budget crisis.
The U.S. averted possible economic calamity when lawmakers
approved a deal late on Tuesday to avoid a "fiscal cliff" of tax
hikes and spending cuts that had threatened to tip the world's
largest economy into recession.
"It is good to see the TSX get off to a fairly decent start,
but it's not been anywhere near as strong as the rally in the
U.S., which is not really surprising," said Elvis Picardo,
strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
Picardo said the U.S. budget deal only addresses one of
several issues that have been holding back the Canadian market,
such as signs the domestic economy has slowed and worries about
the housing market.
Even so, all 10 main sectors advanced. The Toronto Stock
Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 107.24
points, or 0.86 percent, at 12,540.77, after earlier reaching
12,588.75, its highest since March 27, 2012.
"It's a matter of hope and confidence that all this stuff
that's been overhanging the market over the last number of weeks
can be put to rest now, and we can see if we can find something
else to worry about," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity
trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
"There's a little more confidence and a little more comfort
in the minds of investors," he said.
The materials sector, home to mining companies, was the
biggest boost to the index, rising 1.8 percent. The Thomson
Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index, which tracks commodity
prices, rose 0.9 percent.
Teck Resources Ltd, Canada's largest diversified
miner, rose 3.7 percent to C$37.50 as copper rose on the budget
deal and on upbeat data out of China.
Suncor Energy Inc led the index higher, closing up
2.1 percent to C$33.41, tracking higher oil prices. The energy
sector rose 0.9 percent overall.
The financial group, which in recent weeks has been rising
and falling with the perceived chance of U.S. budget deal,
closed up 0.4 percent. Royal Bank of Canada rose 1.0
percent to C$60.50, and Manulife Financial Corp gained
1.2 percent to C$13.67.
Picardo said he sees the TSX lagging U.S. equity markets in
2013, grinding out positive returns, but nothing spectacular,
even if the global economy improves more than expected.
"For the TSX to really do well, you need a big resurgence in
risk appetite, and while things are improving incrementally, we
don't see a big return to risk this year," he said.
Iron ore miners rose, buoyed in part by ArcelorMittal's
$1.1 billion deal to sell a minority stake in its
Eastern Canadian operations to an Asian consortium. Outside the
index, Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd soared 31.8
percent to C$1.45.