Canadian stocks gained, narrowing a weekly decline, as oil and metals rose after euro-area finance ministers began meetings aimed at preventing their sovereign debt crisis from damaging banks and the economy.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ), the nation’s second- biggest oil and gas producer by market value, climbed 2.7 percent as crude advanced. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM), the country’s second-largest publicly traded copper producer, gained 6.3 percent as the metal rallied after settling yesterday at the lowest since July 2010. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Canada’s second- biggest lender by assets, increased 1.1 percent.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 119.16 points, or 1 percent, to 11,949.49, reducing its weekly loss to 1.1 percent.
“The market’s been moving on rumors there could be a start of a resolution to the difficulties they’re having over there,” Greg Eckel, a money manager at Morgan Meighen & Associates Ltd. in Toronto, said in a telephone interview of negotiations in Europe. The firm oversees about C$1 billion ($991 million). “If there’s actually some meat to the resolution, I could see the markets moving much higher,” he said.
The S&P/TSX slipped this week as European officials struggled to reach an agreement on changes to the continent’s rescue initiatives. Canada’s stock benchmark gauge is set to underperform the S&P 500 this year for the first time since 2003 as base metals and fuels have retreated. Energy and raw- materials companies make up 47 percent of Canadian stocks by market value, according to Bloomberg data.
Gathering of Ministers
Today’s meeting of euro-area finance ministers will be followed by a gathering of ministers from all 27 European Union countries tomorrow. Leaders of EU countries are scheduled to meet on Oct. 23 and Oct. 26. European governments may offer as much as 940 billion euros ($1.3 trillion) to fight the debt crisis, two people familiar with the discussions said yesterday.
The S&P/TSX Energy Index completed its fourth-straight weekly gain. Canadian Natural climbed 2.7 percent to C$33.31. Encana Corp. (ECA), the country’s biggest natural gas producer, rose 3.2 percent to C$21.10.
Bankers Petroleum Ltd. (BNK), which produces oil and gas in Albania, rallied 10 percent to C$4.88 a day after John Malone, an analyst at Ticonderoga Securities LLC, boosted his rating on the shares to “buy” from “neutral.” The company’s share price assumed too low of an oil price, Malone wrote in a note to clients.
Precision Drilling Corp (PD), Canada’s largest contract drilling company, sank 5.3 percent to C$10.98 after reporting earnings that trailed the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey by 11 percent, excluding certain items.
Raw-materials companies advanced as the U.S. Dollar Index fell to the lowest in five weeks.
First Quantum increased 6.3 percent to C$15.99 as copper futures surged the most since June 2009. Extorre Gold Mines Ltd. (XG), which explores in Argentina, soared 7.8 percent to C$8.02 as gold futures rebounded from the lowest settlement price since Sept. 26. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer producer by market value, climbed 0.9 percent to C$49.63 as wheat gained.
The six biggest S&P/TSX banks and the three largest insurers each rose. TD gained 1.1 percent to C$74.50. Royal Bank of Canada (RY), its bigger domestic rival, advanced 1 percent to C$48.04. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), North America’s fourth- largest insurer, climbed 2.5 percent to C$12.75.
Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR), the country’s biggest railroad, rose 1.6 percent to C$75.04 to lead the S&P/TSX Industrials Index to its fourth-straight weekly gain, the longest streak since February. CN and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) advanced this week as CSX Corp. and Union Pacific Corp. reported profit increases.
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