Canadian Stocks Increase on North American Employment Data

Canadian stocks rose, trimming a second straight weekly decline, after the nation added three times more jobs than economists estimated and U.S. employment also topped projections.

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, gained 1.7 percent after the U.S. added the most jobs in five years. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), North America’s fourth-largest insurer, advanced 5.1 percent after at least three analysts raised their ratings on the shares. Teck Resources Ltd. (TCK/B), Canada’s largest base-metals and coal producer, increased 2.1 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index gained 111.22 points, or 0.8 percent, to 13,566.60.

“The key driver is the economic data we’re getting both out of the U.S. and Canada,” said Jennifer Dowty, the Toronto- based co-manager of the C$873.1 million ($909.3 million) Manulife Growth Opportunities Fund. “The payrolls out of the U.S. was a lot stronger than expected, and in Canada it was a similar story.”

The S&P/TSX lost 2.7 percent this week to decline for consecutive weeks for the first time since July. The benchmark stock index retreated as crude oil tumbled 15 percent and silver plunged 27 percent, the most for a week since at least 1975. Energy and raw-materials companies make up 48 percent of Canadian stocks by market value, according to Bloomberg data.

Employment Rises

Canadian employment increased by 58,300 in April, Statistics Canada said today. Forecasts among 25 economists in a Bloomberg survey had ranged from 5,000 to 40,000. The U.S. added 244,000 jobs last month, surpassing the median economist forecast of 185,000 in a Bloomberg survey.

The S&P/TSX Energy Index advanced from a three-month low as natural gas gained in electronic trading.

Suncor increased 1.7 percent to C$40.26 after falling 10 percent, the most since July 2009, in the previous three days. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ), the country’s second-largest energy company by market value, climbed 2.5 percent to C$42.30. Oilfield-services provider Pason Systems Inc. (PSI) gained for the first time in eight days, surging 5.4 percent to C$15.33.

Penn West Petroleum Ltd., a western Canadian oil and gas producer, jumped 5.9 percent to C$24.17 after Fergal Kelly, an analyst at Royal Bank of Canada, boosted his rating on the company to “outperform” from “sector perform.” Yesterday, the Calgary-based company reported a first-quarter profit more than four times as large as the average analyst estimate.

Gold, China

Gold narrowed its biggest weekly slide since May 2010. Kinross Gold Corp. (K), Canada’s third-largest producer of the metal, increased 1.5 percent to C$14.54. China Gold International Resources Corp., which explores in China, climbed 6.5 percent to C$4.58. First Majestic Silver Corp. (FR), which mines in Mexico, rallied 7.4 percent to C$17.60.

Minefinders Corp. (MFL), which explores for gold in Mexico, slumped 5.3 percent to C$12.78 to extend its weekly plunge to 20 percent, the biggest since 2008. Brian Christie, an analyst at Desjardins Securities Inc., and Steven J. Green, an analyst at Toronto-Dominion Bank, cut their ratings on the shares.

Romarco Minerals Inc. (R), which is developing a gold mine in South Carolina, rallied 13 percent, the most in eight months, to C$1.88. Shares of the Toronto-based company had fallen 28 percent this year, nearly twice as much as an index of gold explorers.

Industrial-metals and coal companies rose as zinc and copper gained in London. Teck advanced 2.1 percent to CS48.80. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM), Canada’s second-largest publicly traded copper producer, increased 2.1 percent to C$123.72.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer producer by market value, rose 2.1 percent from a 2011 low to C$51.80. Earnings at CF Industries Holdings Inc. (CF), the second-biggest maker of nitrogen fertilizer, surpassed the average of 12 analyst estimates by 27 percent, excluding certain items.

Manulife Premiums

Manulife surged 5.1 percent to C$17.47 a day after reporting first-quarter profit that fell less than analysts expected as higher premiums in the U.S. and Canada countered claims from the earthquake in Japan. Analysts at Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and National Bank of Canada raised their ratings on the insurer.

“The risk premium that the market currently applies to Manulife’s stock has not adjusted to the company’s reduced risk position and improved fundamentals,” Peter Routledge, a National Bank analyst, wrote in a note to clients.

Magna International Inc. (MG), Canada’s largest auto-parts maker, advanced 3.8 percent to C$50.51. The company said it earned $1.34 a share in the first quarter, excluding certain items, beating the average of 15 analyst estimates by 18 percent as vehicle production rebounded.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) retreated 2.6 percent to a four-year low of C$44.56. Market-research firm ComScore Inc. said smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system surpassed BlackBerry in U.S. market share in the first quarter.

RIM now trades at a record-low 7.2 times its past four quarters of earnings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Walcoff in Toronto at mwalcoff1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net.

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