* TSX up 79.45 pts, or 0.63 pct, at 12,723.46
* Bank earnings, resource issues boost index
* Royal, TD profits top forecasts, dividends up
* China, U.S. data help metals, oil
* Bombardier, RIM profit concerns weigh
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, March 1 Canadian stocks rose on
Thursday following a sharp selloff the previous session,
encouraged by stronger-than-expected earnings from Canada's top
two banks, surging oil prices, and upbeat economic data from
China and the United States.
Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank
pushed the index's financial sector up 1.1 percent after
the banking heavyweights' earnings topped estimates and both
raised their dividends.
Shares of RBC, the country's largest bank, shot up 2 percent
to C$56.80, and No. 2 lender TD was up 1.4 percent at C$82.
Canadian financials have risen more than 7 percent this
year, reversing a 7.5-percent loss in 2011.
"The banks look like they're definitely breaking out of a
bit of a funk for the last year," said Mike Newton, portfolio
manager at Macquarie Private Wealth Inc.
Investors overlooked lower net income numbers at RBC and TD
and focused on the dividend increases. The interest boosted
shares of banks that are still due to report, with Bank of Nova
Scotia climbing 0.8 percent to C$53.79 and Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce up 0.4 percent to C$77.03.
"When you're only getting 1 percent in your money market and
you can find a stock yielding 2 to 4 percent with the potential
for capital gain, that's a bit of an aphrodisiac to get invested
in the marketplace," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
closed up 79.45 points, or 0.63 percent, at 12,723.46.
Energy issues contributed to the gain, rising 0.8 percent as
Brent crude futures surged to a 10-month high above $126 on
increased tension between Israel and Iran.
Canadian Natural Resources was up 1.8 percent to
C$37.41 and Suncor Energy rose 0.9 percent to C$35.84.
Oil and gas explorer Ithaca Energy Inc was helped
by the oil-price rise and by takeover speculation, spiking
nearly 10 percent to C$3.12 after the company said it has
received unsolicited interest from a number of parties.
The index's materials group climbed 0.55 percent as mining
stocks rose on higher gold and metal prices. Canada's
second-largest gold producer, Goldcorp, led the sector,
rising 2 percent to C$48.91 as bullion prices rebounded after
tumbling 3 percent the previous session.
First Quantum Minerals jumped 3.5 percent to
C$23.43, helped by higher copper prices after encouraging data
from top metals consumer China. China's official purchasing
managers' index rose to 51.0 in February from 50.5 in January,
hinting that the country will avoid a sharp slowdown.
Resource issues were also supported by U.S. data that showed
jobless claims fell again last week, trumping other data which
showed the manufacturing sector cooled last month while
construction spending fell in January.
Weak 2012 earnings expectations for Bombardier Inc
and Research In Motion limited gains. Bombardier shares
fell 9.5 percent to C$4.30 after the plane and train maker said
it expects a drop in aircraft deliveries and related profit
margins in 2012.
"There was definitely more tolerance for disappointment in
the banks today than there was in Bombardier," said Newton.
RIM shares tumbled almost 5 percent to C$13.35 after
analysts said the embattled Blackberry maker is likely to
preannounce poor February quarter results and to forecast a
"very weak" May quarter on lower sales.