* TSX up 61.91 points, or 0.49 percent, at 12,738.00
* All 10 main index sectors higher
* RIM up nearly 6 percent, tech group up 1.77 pct
* Materials rise 0.56 percent, energy up 0.32 percent
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Jan 18 Canada's main stock index
touched its highest level since late February on Friday, helped
by a jump in Research In Motion shares after an
influential analyst boosted his rating and price target on the
company, days ahead of the launch of a new product line crucial
to RIM's future.
Also boosting the index was news that China's economy grew
at a slightly faster-than-expected rate in the fourth quarter,
which lifted heavyweight materials and energy shares. The report
was the latest indication that China, a major resource consumer,
is recovering from a slowdown.
"The Chinese number yesterday was the key driving force, I
think ... obviously people are a bit more optimistic on the
resource side. That certainly helps, especially with things like
copper," said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.
The index's materials group was up 0.52 percent, while the
energy sector added 0.33 percent. Oil company Canadian Natural
Resources Ltd rose 1.36 percent to C$29.73, while miner
Goldcorp Inc advanced 1.25 percent to C$37.22.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
was up 61.91 points, or 0.49 percent, at 12,738.00, in
its strongest performance since Feb. 29, 2012.
All 10 of the index's main sectors were higher, with the
technology group up 1.74 percent. RIM stock climbed 5.86 percent
to C$15.52 after Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek lifted his
stock rating on RIM to "buy" from "hold", adding to optimism
about the make-or-break launch on Jan. 30 of a line of
smartphones powered by the company's new BlackBerry 10 software.
"It's a very, very tricky situation ... There's an awful lot
of rumors going out about it, but I think it's going to be a
very, very tough uphill battle (for RIM)," Masionis said.
He added that recent technical breakouts in a number of
sectors, including the Dow Jones transportation average's record
high earlier in the week, have also helped the market.
Canadian National Railway was the biggest
heavyweight gainer, rising 1.52 percent to C$95.22. The overall
industrials group was up 0.62 percent.
The financials group, which accounts for nearly a third of
the index, rose 0.6 percent.