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Canadian Stocks Rise as U.S. Employment Growth Tops Estimates

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks rose, completing a third-straight weekly gain, as energy producers and banks advanced after U.S. unemployment fell to a two-year low.

Cenovus Energy Inc., the country’s fifth-largest energy company, increased 1.2 percent as oil climbed to a 30-month high. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer producer by market value, rose 1.5 percent as corn rallied. Goldcorp Inc., the world’s second-biggest gold producer by market value, lost 1.9 percent as the metal retreated the most since March 15.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index climbed 14.05 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,130.15. For the week, the equity benchmark rose 0.7 percent.

“Continued economic recovery in the developed nations and continuing growth in the emerging is positive for equities,” said Ken Mack, an analyst and trader at Stone Asset Management in Toronto, which oversees about C$850 million ($881 million). “Every economic report looks better than the last.”

The S&P/TSX has had nine straight positive monthly returns including dividends, the longest streak in 27 years. Banks and energy companies have gained as employers in the U.S. and Canada have boosted hiring and oil has surged on unrest in the Middle East.

U.S. employers added 216,000 workers in March, exceeding the median economist estimate of 190,000 in a Bloomberg survey. The unemployment rate declined to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent.

Oil-Related Shares

Crude futures advanced 1.1 percent. Cenovus increased 1.2 percent to a record C$38.76. Imperial Oil Ltd., Canada’s second-largest energy company, climbed 2.2 percent to C$50.65. Enbridge Inc., the country’s biggest pipeline company, rose 1.3 percent to a record C$60.18.

Inter Pipeline Fund, which transports oil in western Canada, slumped 5.4 percent to C$16.16. Juan Plessis, an analyst at Canaccord Financial Inc., reduced his rating on the shares to “sell” from “hold,” citing the stock’s surge since March 11.

Potash Corp. climbed 1.5 percent to C$58.01 as corn futures advanced 6.2 percent in Chicago. Corn increased 4.5 percent yesterday after the U.S. reported stockpiles fell to a three-year low.

Precious metals retreated as the U.S. dollar advanced to a two-week high against a basket of world currencies.

Goldcorp dropped 1.9 percent to C$47.41. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer of the metal, declined 1.9 percent to C$49.43. Aurizon Mines Ltd., which produces gold in Quebec, lost 5.1 percent to C$6.47.

‘Safety Trade’

“Gold is down because of the safety trade,” Mack said. “The U.S. economy got good job numbers, so there’s less of a concern for safety.”

Romarco Minerals Inc., which is developing a gold project in South Carolina, retreated for a record ninth day, tumbling 15 percent to C$1.88. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked state and federal regulators to deny the project an environmental permit, The State newspaper reported, citing a letter from the EPA.

NGEx Resources Inc., which explores for gold and copper in Canada, South America and Africa, soared 35 percent to a 12-year high of C$2.62 after releasing drilling results from a Chilean project.

Canada’s six largest banks each gained after the release of the U.S. jobs data.

Royal Bank, the parent of Rocky Mount, North Carolina-based RBC Bank USA, advanced 1.1 percent to C$60.66. Bank of Montreal, Canada’s fourth-largest lender by assets, increased 1.1 percent to an 11-month high of C$63.64. National Bank of Canada, the No. 6 bank by assets, climbed 2.3 percent to a record C$80.56.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., Canada’s largest drugmaker, gained 6.1 percent to a seven-year high of C$51.37. The company has jumped 19 percent since March 29, when it offered about $5.7 billion to buy Cephalon Inc.

Alan Ridgeway, an analyst at Paradigm Capital Inc., boosted his 12-month share-price estimate to $58 from $47, telling clients in a note that Cephalon may add $18 a share to $31 a share to Valeant’s value.

Copper Producer

First Quantum Minerals Ltd., the country’s second-biggest publicly traded copper producer, advanced 3.6 percent to C$129.88 to extend its three-day climb to 7.6 percent. On March 30, the Vancouver-based company announced a resource and reserves increase at its Kevitsa project in Finland.

Westport Innovations Inc., which makes natural-gas engines, surged 9.1 percent to C$23.19, the highest price since June 2002. The shares have soared 23 percent since March 29, the day before U.S. President Barack Obama promoted natural-gas vehicles in an energy-policy speech.

Exfo Inc., which makes equipment for the telecommunications industry, plunged 22 percent to C$7.94 after announcing second-quarter earnings that missed the average of four analyst estimates by 17 percent, excluding certain items. The tumble was the most in a day since 2001.

To contact the reporter on this story; Matt Walcoff in Toronto at mwalcoff1@bloomberg.net.

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

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