Canadian stocks rose, adding to last’s week gain, as metal producers advanced after the price of copper touched a record on signs of improving global demand and concern that power outages will crimp output at Chilean mines.
Teck Resources Ltd., Canada’s largest base-metals producer, rallied 0.6 percent. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. gained 1.5 percent as higher wheat prices signaled demand for fertilizer. Manulife Financial Corp. climbed 1.7 percent after Macquarie Group Ltd. started coverage of the insurer. Bank of Montreal rose 1 percent after being raised to “buy” from “‘hold’’ at Canaccord Genuity Corp.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index increased 20.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,811.93 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The equity benchmark rose to 13,872.13 earlier, the highest intraday price since July 14, 2008. It advanced 2.6 percent last week and 25 percent since July 5.
‘‘Copper is extremely strong right now,’’ said Robert Floyd, president of BirchLeaf Investments Inc., who says his growth-oriented investments for clients soared 56 percent in 2009 and an additional 22 percent through Nov. 30. He declined to disclose his assets under management. ‘‘We are expecting some very good numbers out of the commodities sector based on the levels we are at right now. I’m looking forward to some positive earnings reports.’’
Copper for March delivery slipped 0.1 percent, after touching a record $4.6375 a pound intraday. U.S. and Chinese reports of expansion in manufacturing last week and concern that potential power blackouts may cut mine output in Chile, the world’s largest producer, sent prices higher.
Canadian building permits rose for the first time in three months in December, led by multifamily housing. The total value of permits issued by municipalities increased 2.4 percent to C$5.66 billion ($5.73 billion) after a revised November decline of 10.5 percent, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa.
Teck, which reports fourth quarter earnings tomorrow, rose 0.6 percent to C$62.10. First Quantum Minerals Ltd., the nation’s second-largest publicly traded copper producer, gained 3 percent to a record C$133.00.
Potash Corp., the world’s biggest fertilizer producer, gained 1.5 percent to C$181.87, the highest price since September 2008. Agrium Inc., Canada’s second-largest fertilizer producer, jumped 2.2 percent to C$92.51. Agrium reports results Feb. 9.
Wheat futures rose for the first time in three sessions on signs that countries are increasing grain inventories after food inflation spurred rioting in North Africa.
National Bank of Canada climbed 1.5 percent to C$71.81 and Bank of Montreal gained 1 percent to C$59.50 after the lenders were raised to ‘‘buy” from “hold” at Canaccord.
Manulife Financial advanced 1.7 percent to C$19.15, the highest price since April 26, after the stock got a “neutral” rating in new coverage at Macquarie.
“We view Manulife as a company in transition, as the gradual scaling back of exposure to macro factors is balanced against the cost of the hedging and the impact that ‘de-risking’ will have on business growth,” wrote Sumit Malhotra, a Toronto-based analyst at Macquarie. The shares have declined for the past three years.
Silver futures for March delivery rose 1 percent to $29.343 an ounce, while gold slipped 80 cents from its biggest weekly gain of the year to $1,348.20, as talks between Egypt’s government and opposition leaders cooled protests and curbed investor demand for the metal as a safe haven.
Silver Wheaton Corp., a Vancouver-based purchaser and seller of the metal, gained 0.9 percent to C$33.79. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer, fell 0.5 percent to C$47.28.
Crew Energy Inc., the oil and gas explorer producing fuel in Alberta and Saskatchewan is offering 4.82 million shares at C$20.75. The stock fell 2.9 percent to C$20.58.