Air Canada Tops on S&P/TSX Ahead of Traffic Data

Air Canada (AC/B) surged to the highest level in almost five years in anticipation of strong September travel data, taking its gains for the year to 123 percent and making it the best performing stock in the country.

Air Canada (AC/A) rose 4.3 percent to C$3.90 at the close in Toronto today, the highest since Nov. 7, 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Montreal-based carrier’s rally since August has pushed it to the top of the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index, ahead of second place Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., which has gained 91 percent this year.

“August numbers were very, very strong and there’s an expectation that September will also be strong,” Cameron Doerksen, an analyst with National Bank Financial, said today in an interview. The airline usually reports traffic data in the first week of the month.

Recent financings by Air Canada have lowered interest expenses and strong second-quarter financial results may be repeated in the third quarter, Doerksen said.

Air Canada shares have also gained since being added to the benchmark index on Sept. 20. A message left with Peter Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the airline, wasn’t immediately returned.

“Air Canada has had a great move,” Chris Damas, an analyst at BCMI Research in Barrie, Ontario, said in a note. “However, I’d be selling into the strength today because we haven’t seen the September traffic numbers.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Doug Alexander in Toronto at dalexander3@bloomberg.net; Caroline Chen in New York at cchen509@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net; David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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