* TSX ends up 123.56 pts, or 1 pct, at 12,485.59
* Largest one-day jump since Jan. 25
* Gold miners, energy issues lead gains
* U.S. data, Greek deal hopes lift sentiment
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, Feb 16 Canadian stocks notched
their biggest single-day gain this month on Thursday as
gold-mining earnings, higher oil prices and strong U.S. economic
data boosted resource shares, while euro-zone debt fears eased.
Fourth-quarter earnings from Canada's top gold producers
initially failed to excite, but on closer inspection sharp
dividend increases by Kinross Gold and Agnico-Eagle
won over investors. Kinross and Agnico shares both
jumped 7 percent to C$11.07 and C$36.57 respectively.
"You look at the valuations and they appear to be cheap,"
said Joe Tatusko, chief investment officer at brokerage firm
Westport Resources in Connecticut. "Any sliver of good news is
going to have these guys move."
Shares of the country's two biggest gold miners, Barrick
Gold and Goldcorp also rose but by a smaller
margin as both reported solid quarterly results and continued
success in their exploration programs. Goldcorp jumped 4.5
percent to C$47.25, while Barrick was up 1 percent to C$48.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
finished up 123.56 points, or 1 percent, at 12,485.59,
its highest close in a week and its biggest one-day rise since
Oil and gas issues also drove gains, rising more than 1
percent after Brent crude prices hit an eight-month high above
$120 a barrel on Iran supply concerns and an expected drop in
North Sea output.
Energy gains were led by Canadian Natural resources
, which rose 1.8 percent to C$37.07. Encana Corp
jumped 4.4 percent to C$20.15 ahead of reporting
fourth-quarter results on Friday.
Cenovus Energy was up 1.4 percent at C$38.61 after
Canada's No. 2 independent oil producer said on Wednesday its
quarterly profit tripled on production gains.
Nexen Inc's shares gained 4 percent to C$19.71,
after the oil and natural gas company reported a sharp drop in
fourth-quarter profit, but said it was meeting production
targets and showing some progress.
Risk sentiment was helped by upbeat data that suggested the
U.S. economic recovery remained healthy as jobless claims fell
to a near a four-year low and housing starts rose in January.
In Europe, talks to secure approval of a second Greek
bailout showed signs of progress after a euro zone official said
leaders were finishing the details of a package worth at least
130 billion euros ($169.5 billion).
Financial issues rose, led by Manulife Financial,
which climbed 4.6 percent to C$12.59.
A disorderly default by Athens would wreak havoc with
liquidity in European financial markets due to hefty Greek debt
holdings in the form of credit default swaps and insurance
"Once you start bringing up liquidity issues in the market,
the market becomes extremely tentative, if not negative," said
Gareth Watson, vice-president of investment management and
research at wealth management firm Richardson GMP.