Stocks Rise in Toronto as Snow Drives Energy Gain; Western Financial Jumps
Canadian stocks rose, extending a weekly gain, after energy companies climbed as snow in Europe encouraged forecasts for higher fuel prices and Western Financial Group Inc. agreed to a takeover.
Western Financial an insurer based in High River, Alberta, soared 69 percent after agreeing to be bought by Desjardins Financial Group. Talisman Energy Inc., an oil and gas producer with operations in North America, the North Sea and Indonesia, advanced 0.5 percent before an OPEC meeting.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index increased 11.96 points, or 0.1 percent, to an almost 28-month high of 13,383.16. It climbed 1.4 percent this week. Toronto Stock Exchange volume of 86.3 million shares was the lowest since Dec. 17, 2008, when a computer failure halted most trading 20 minutes into the day.
“The movement in oil prices is the psychology of weather, and also the strength of commodities across the board,” said Michael Smedley, who helps manage C$1.2 billion ($1.19 billion) as a money manager at Morgan Meighen & Associates Ltd. in Toronto. “If we think it’s going to continue cold through the winter, that is enough to push the concern of higher fuel prices in people’s minds.”
The S&P/TSX has rallied 14 percent this year and is outgaining the S&P 500, which is up 13 percent, for the seventh straight year. The Canadian benchmark has been led by a 32 percent surge in raw-materials companies as gold and copper each jumped at least 25 percent.
Three Hours Early
The Toronto Stock Exchange closed three hours early today and reopens on Dec. 29.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ seven Arab-country members meet in Cairo tomorrow. Member-country officials including Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp., have forecast oil will climb to $100 a barrel. The fuel rose to a 26-month high of $91.51 a barrel yesterday.
Sixteen of 30 analysts and traders in a Bloomberg survey estimated crude prices will gain through Dec. 31.
Talisman climbed 0.5 percent to C$22.11. TransCanada Corp., the owner of Canada’s largest pipeline system, increased 0.4 percent to C$38.59. Vermilion Energy Inc., which produces oil and gas in Canada, Australia and Europe, advanced 1 percent to C$47.31.
Ivanhoe Energy Inc., an oil and gas producer that does business in China, rallied 2.9 percent to C$2.82. Yesterday, Jeff Meunier, an analyst at Toronto-Dominion Bank, began coverage of the company with a “speculative buy” rating.
Most Since 1996
Western Financial surged 69 percent, the most since 1996, to C$4.15 after agreeing to Desjardins’ takeover offer of C$4.15 a share in cash, or C$443 million ($439 million).
Cline Mining Corp., which is developing coal mines in Canada and the U.S., rallied 20 percent to C$4.21 after soaring 21 percent yesterday. The company yesterday announced U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration approval for its New Elk mine in Colorado.
Technology-patent owner Wi-LAN Inc. rose 13 percent to C$5.86, extending its weekly gain to 38 percent, the most since 2006. On Dec. 22, the Ottawa-based company said LG Electronics Inc. agreed to license wireless technology to settle a lawsuit.
Avion Gold Corp., which explores for gold in West Africa, advanced for an eighth day, climbing 6.8 percent to C$1.89 in its first day of trading on the TSX. The company formerly traded on the TSX Venture Exchange.
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