Canadian Stocks Advance After U.S. Cuts Crop-Supply Forecasts

Canadian stocks rose, ending the longest Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index losing streak since 2006, as fertilizer producers gained after the U.S. cut crop-supply forecasts and precious-metals companies advanced on speculation the European debt crisis will worsen.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer producer by market value, increased 3.4 percent as corn futures climbed. Kinross Gold Corp., Canada’s third-biggest producer of the metal, gained 3.3 percent as the euro retreated against 13 of 16 other major currencies. Sino-Forest Corp., the forestry company that has plunged 72 percent since a short seller said it manipulated financial data, rallied 4.7 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 71.95 points, or 0.6 percent, to 13,255.74 after closing at the lowest level relative to earnings since September yesterday.

The decline in valuations is attracting investors back into the stock market, said John Kinsey, a money manager at Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. in Toronto, which oversees about C$1 billion ($1 billion). “We’re getting bottom-fishers or people that are bargain-hunting,” he said.

The index’s seven-day streak of declines was the longest since 2006. The index fell 4.7 percent from May 30 to yesterday as U.S. statistics on employment and manufacturing trailed economists’ forecasts and U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke called his country’s economic recovery “frustratingly slow.”

‘Strong Vigilance’

Potash Corp. advanced for the first time in five days, rallying 3.4 percent to C$53.98, as the U.S. Agriculture Department today cut its year-end estimates for corn and wheat stocks more than most analysts had forecast. Agrium Inc., Canada’s second-largest fertilizer producer, increased 2.6 percent to C$82.49.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said today “strong vigilance” is necessary to restrain inflation, signaling the bank will raise interest rates next month.

The euro declined after Trichet’s statement, indicating traders believe the most-indebted Western European countries will be unable to handle higher interest rates, Peter Boockvar, a strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York, said in an e-mail to clients. Precious-metals producers gained.

Kinross rose 3.3 percent to C$15.25. Eldorado Gold Corp., which mines in China and Turkey, advanced for the first time in nine days, increasing 2.1 percent to C$14.09. First Majestic Silver Corp., which operates in Mexico, climbed 5.6 percent to C$18.21 as silver climbed 2.2 percent.

The S&P/TSX Financials Index gained after closing yesterday at an 11-month low relative to earnings. Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest lender by assets, rose 0.9 percent to C$54.86. Bank of Nova Scotia, the No. 3 Canadian lender, advanced 0.9 percent to C$58.24.

Sino-Forest Gains

Sino-Forest rose 4.7 percent to C$5.15. The shares have fallen from C$18.21 on June 1, the day before Muddy Waters Research said the company lied about its finances. The company, which operates in China, yesterday asked Canadian regulators to investigate Muddy Waters.

Muddy Waters’ founder, Carson Block, said the company’s disclosures of land holdings don’t match Chinese city records and that its production may be overstated. Sino-Forest has denied the assertions and published documents on its website that it says back up its financial statements.

Construction-products maker Armtec Infrastructure Inc. sank 59 percent to a record low of C$4.35 after suspending its dividend. In a press release, the company cited “unprecedented weather conditions across the country and margin compression.”

Uranium One Inc. fell for a record ninth-straight day, dropping 6.2 percent to C$2.90. Japan may evacuate more towns affected by radiation from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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