Canadian Stocks Rise as Natural Gas Surges Most Since October

Canadian stocks (SPTSX) rose for a fourth day, led by energy producers, as natural gas futures gained the most since October on forecasts for colder-than-normal weather in the northern U.S.

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, advanced 1.5 percent. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s biggest fertilizer producer by market value, declined 1.9 percent after Citigroup Inc. removed it from a list of top stock picks. Yoga-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) rallied 8.9 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added the company to its Americas Conviction List.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) climbed 18.04 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,226.47. The index closed at the highest level since Nov. 15 for a second day after rallying yesterday when the Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. manufacturing index rose more than most economists had forecast.

“The U.S. economy’s doing better than what people thought,” Stephen Gauthier, a money manager at Fin-XO Securities in Montreal, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees about C$600 million ($593 million). “That’s giving a lift to commodities, which had a very difficult year last year. There’s a little cold snap, natural gas going up. There’s crude oil going up also, because of tensions in Iran.”

The S&P/TSX rallied 2.1 percent yesterday, led by raw- materials and energy stocks, after slumping 11 percent in 2011. The S&P/TSX Materials Index (STMATR) fell to the lowest relative to earnings since May 2009 last month as the spread of Europe’s debt crisis led to the gains in the U.S. dollar and drops in gold and copper futures.

Natural gas surged 3.4 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange after AccuWeather Inc. said temperatures may fall to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 14 Celsius) on Jan. 15. Natural gas futures have declined 34 percent from a year ago.

Suncor, Penn West

Suncor rose 1.5 percent to C$31.45. Penn West Petroleum Ltd., a western Canadian oil and gas producer, gained 2.3 percent to C$21.43. Nuvista Energy Ltd. (NVA), which produces natural gas and oil in Alberta, jumped 8.9 percent to C$5.86.

Uranium One Inc. (UUU), which mines the power-plant fuel in Kazakhstan, increased 5.3 percent to C$2.38.

Potash Corp. lost 1.9 percent to C$43.42 after P.J. Juvekar, an analyst at Citigroup, replaced it with CF Industries Holdings Inc. in his Top Picks Live list. Lower natural gas prices should help U.S. nitrogen-fertilizer producers like Deerfield, Illinois-based CF, Juvekar said in a note to clients. Potash Corp. still has a “buy” rating at Citigroup.

Lululemon rallied 8.9 percent to C$51.82 after Michelle Tan, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, added the company to Goldman’s Americas Conviction List. Lululemon “still offers one of the most-compelling growth stories in retail” as evidenced by Google searches during the holiday season, Tan wrote in a note to clients.

Rare Element Resources Ltd. (RES), which is developing a rare- earths project in Wyoming, soared 21 percent, the most since March, to C$4.35 after reporting a resources increase.

Imax Corp. (IMAX), the maker of giant-screen movie-projection systems, advanced 5.5 percent to C$19.02 after James M. Marsh, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., reiterated his “overweight” rating on the shares. Marsh cited the company’s international- growth prospects in a note to clients.

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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