Canadian Stocks Snap Three-Day Drop on Rising Natural Gas

Canadian stocks rose for the first time in four days as natural gas prices increased and U.S. companies reported better-than-forecast earnings.

Encana Corp. (ECA), the country’s biggest natural gas producer by volume, added 4 percent. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose 3.9 percent after fertilizer producer Mosaic Co. reported an increase in demand. Agrium Inc. (AGU), a fertilizer producer and farm retailer, gained 3.2 percent. Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI/B), Canada’s biggest wireless provider, fell 4.4 percent after reporting earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) increased 130.96 points, or 1.1 percent, to 12,111.06 in Toronto, its biggest gain in almost two weeks.

“What you’re generally seeing is a bit of a bounceback after a few days of selling,” Brian Huen, a managing partner at Red Sky Capital Management Ltd. in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees about C$55 million ($55 million). “Earnings season seems to be in decent shape. The majority of companies are coming in better than expected, which is certainly helping sentiment today.”

Of companies in the S&P 500 and S&P/TSX, 76 percent that have reported earnings since April 10 have beaten analyst forecasts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Apple Inc. said second-quarter profit was $12.30 a share, exceeding predictions by 23 percent, and Caterpillar Inc. beat estimates by 11 percent.

Weekly Gain

The S&P/TSX had its first weekly gain in almost two months in the five days ending April 20, snapping its longest losing streak since 2008. Canadian stocks rallied after the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Canada said economic growth would be faster than previously forecast. The index had its worst decline in a week on April 23, after manufacturing shrank in Europe and China.

Canadian shares extended gains today after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to do more to stimulate growth. Fed policy makers repeated the view that borrowing costs are likely to remain “exceptionally low” at least through 2014.

Energy companies increased as natural gas futures in New York rose for the third time in four days on speculation that decade-low prices will prompt production cuts and spur higher demand from power plants.

Encana advanced 4 percent to C$18.36. Niko Resources Ltd. (NKO), which produces oil and gas in South Asia, rose 7.1 percent to C$41.39. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ), the country’s third- largest energy company, climbed 3.4 percent to C$32.37.

Fertilizer Stocks

Materials stocks in the S&P/TSX rose, driven by potash shares. Mosaic Co., the largest North American phosphate- fertilizer supplier, said sales volumes in its fiscal quarter will be at the upper end of an earlier forecast because of a “rapid acceleration in demand.”

Potash Corp. rose 3.9 percent to C$43.65. Agrium gained 3.2 percent to C$86.85.

Rogers decreased 4.4 percent to C$36.81, its largest drop since October 2010. The company reported first-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates, hurt by subsidies it offers on Apple’s iPhone.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) rose 2.6 percent to C$13.42 after Apple reported a 94 percent surge in profit and 59 percent jump in revenue in the quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Ciolli in New York at jciolli@bloomberg.net

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

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