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Canada Stocks Rise for Third Day as Bank Shares Advance

Canadian stocks rose for a third day, the longest winning streak in a month, as energy producers and banks advanced amid higher-than-forecast Chinese imports.

Royal Bank of Canada, the nation’s largest lender, and Bank of Nova Scotia added more than 1.8 percent. Arc Resources (ARX) Ltd. and Husky Energy Inc. gained at least 2.7 percent as natural gas surged and oil erased an earlier loss. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer of the metal, plunged to a four-year low after a report that a Chilean court ordered work halted at the company’s Pascua Lama mine.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (SPTSX) climbed 50.86 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,534.91 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark equity gauge has added 1.7 percent this week, erasing its loss for the year. Trading volume was in line with the 30- day average.

“China imports were up, it’s getting people excited again for the commodity side,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager with ABC Funds in Toronto. His firm oversees about C$800 million ($788 million). “With the banks, people are coming to terms with the fact the Canadian housing market is not going to crash.”

Imports to China, Canada’s second-largest trading partner behind the U.S., rose by an above-forecast 14 percent in March, the nation’s customs administration said today in Beijing.

Data yesterday showed Canadian housing starts unexpectedly increased for a second month in March and building permits rose in February, evidence that low borrowing costs are supporting construction.

Oil, Gas

Oil prices rose 0.5 percent to $94.64, the highest settlement since April 2, erasing losses of as much as 0.9 percent earlier in the day. The Chinese import data, Japanese stimulus plans and speculation that corporate earnings will beat estimates sent U.S. equities to record highs, bolstering speculation that fuel consumption will climb.

Natural gas futures rose 1.7 percent to settle at $4.085 per million British thermal units, the first gain in three days, following forecasts for below-normal temperatures through mid- April in the western U.S. Arc Resources added 3.4 percent to C$27.48, the highest in more than two years. Husky Energy advanced 2.7 percent to C$29.92.

Bank shares rallied, with the S&P/TSX Financials index advancing 1.3 percent, the most in eight months. Royal Bank (RY) gained 2 percent to C$61.38. Scotiabank rose 1.8 percent, the biggest jump in almost 10 months, to C$58.39.

Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B), based in Montreal, climbed 0.5 percent to C$4.09 after announcing it signed a deal to sell as many as 30 of its new CSeries jets to Porter Airlines. The full order would be worth as much as $2.08 billion based on list prices, Bombardier said.

Gold Slump

Raw materials producers were the only group among 10 in the index to decline, falling 2.9 percent today to extend the S&P/TSX Materials Index’s loss this year to 16 percent.

Gold producers slumped 4.9 percent as a group, the lowest close since December 2008. The metal’s price slid the most in five months, dropping 1.8 percent to settle at $1,558.80 an ounce.

Barrick tumbled 8.6 percent to C$24.81, the lowest level since October 2008. Chile’s Radio Cooperativa reported an appeals court accepted an injunction filed by indigenous communities against the Pascua-Lama gold project. The company said in an e-mail it has not been notified by the court and had no comment.

Rio Alto Mining Ltd. (RIO), which is developing the La Arena gold and copper project in Peru, dropped 2.6 percent to C$4.51 after suspending operations at the mine late yesterday when a worker died in an accident while digging a trench. The company has not said when operations will resume.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nikolaj Gammeltoft in New York at ngammeltoft@bloomberg.net; Eric Lam in Toronto at elam87@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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