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Canadian Stocks Advance as Employment Growth Tops Estimates

Canadian stocks rose for the first time this week after Canada and the U.S. reported bigger-than- forecast gains in employment and wholesale inventories, and commodity futures advanced.

Torstar Corp., the owner of the Toronto Star newspaper, soared 21 percent after agreeing to sell its stake in CTVglobemedia Inc. for about C$345 million ($334 million). Lululemon Athletica Inc., an active-wear retailer, surged 13 percent after its second-quarter profit topped the average analyst estimate. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest gold producer, gained 1.5 percent after Bangladesh bought 10 metric tons of the metal from the International Monetary Fund.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index increased 63.56 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,097.09.

“The double-dip recession is dead,” said Barry Schwartz, who helps oversee C$360 million as a money manager at Baskin Financial Services Inc. in Toronto. “We’re going to have a slow and shallow recovery, but that doesn’t mean companies can’t show record profits.”

The S&P/TSX slipped 0.4 percent this week, the first weekly loss in a month, after climbing eight straight days through Sept. 3. The index declined as the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate to 1 percent and gold retreated from a record price.

Jobs Growth

Canadian employers added 35,800 jobs last month, Statistics Canada said today. Economists had forecast an increase of 30,000 positions, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

The U.S. Commerce Department said today that the value of inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose 1.3 percent in July, the most in two years and three times the median economist estimate. Also today, Japan reported its economic growth slowed less than previously estimated in the second quarter.

An index of S&P/TSX financial companies gained for a third day to a six-week high. Manulife Financial Corp., North America’s third-largest insurer, rallied 3.7 percent to C$13.48. Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s biggest bank, climbed 0.7 percent to C$53.50.

Most S&P/TSX precious-metal producers rose after the IMF said Bangladesh bought $403 million of gold this week.

Barrick advanced 1.5 percent to C$46.36. Centerra Gold Inc., which mines in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia, increased 5.6 percent to C$16.22. Pan American Silver Corp., which operates in Latin America, rallied 2.7 percent to C$27.49 after Michael D. Curran, a Royal Bank of Canada analyst, raised his rating on the company to “outperform” from “sector perform.”

Western Coal Corp., the second-largest Canada-based coal producer, rose 5.9 percent to C$4.70 after China reported imports increased more in August than most economists forecast. Silvercorp Metals Inc., which mines silver and lead in the country, gained 6.1 percent to C$8.12.

Pending government approval, CTVglobemedia will be split, with BCE Inc., Canada’s largest phone company, taking broadcasters CTV and CHUM Radio. BCE will also own 15 percent of the Globe and Mail, with the Thomson family’s Woodbridge Co. owning the majority stake in the newspaper.

Torstar Soars

Torstar jumped 21 percent, the most since at least 1988, to C$12. BCE, which would pay C$3.2 billion in cash and assumption of debt to the other CTV stakeholders, increased 0.4 percent to C$32.99. Astral Media Inc., owner of The Movie Network and 82 radio stations, advanced 3.5 percent to a two-year high of C$38.42.

Lululemon, the Vancouver-based company specializing in yoga wear, rose 13 percent, the most in 17 months, to C$41.89 after its second-quarter earnings beat the average of 14 analyst estimates by 25 percent, excluding certain items. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast to a level higher than most analysts’ estimates.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. dropped 1.7 percent to a post-2008 low of C$45.69. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is considering allowing employees to use Apple Inc.’s iPhone and smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Niko’s Dividend

Niko Resources Ltd., which produces oil and gas in South Asia, gained 2.9 percent to C$102.90 after doubling its quarterly dividend to 6 cents a share. The company had paid 3 cents a share each quarter since 2001.

Empire Co., owner of Canada’s second-largest grocery chain, retreated 2.9 percent, the most in 11 months, to C$52.27. The company reported first-quarter earnings that surpassed the average analyst estimate by 0.5 percent.

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