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Canadian Stocks Gain as Oil, Gold Shares Advance; Manulife Falls

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks rose for a second day, extending a five-month high, as energy shares gained with oil prices on concern Iran will curb supply and gold producers rallied with the metal.

Suncor Energy Inc., the country’s largest oil and gas producer, increased 2.5 percent. Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer of the precious metal, gained 2.6 percent. Teck Resources Ltd., Canada’s largest copper and coal producer, advanced 2.8 percent. Manulife Financial Corp. the country’s biggest insurer, declined 2.1 percent.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 77.9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,701.26 in Toronto.

“On balance, things are slowly but surely improving,” Irwin Michael, a money manager at ABC Funds in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. His firm oversees C$1 billion. “There are a lot of investors who are chomping at the bit wanting to get invested. They’ll buy on weakness; they’ll stick their toe in the water and the market will saw-tooth its way upwards.”

The index rallied 1.3 percent yesterday after European finance ministers approved 130 billion ($172 billion) in aid for Greece. Canadian stocks have gained eight of the past nine weeks as improving U.S. employment, manufacturing and housing data overshadowed the European debt crisis. Energy and raw material producers account for 48 percent of Canadian stocks by market value, according to Bloomberg data.

Commodity Shares

The S&P/TSX Energy Index gained 0.8 percent as oil extended a nine-month high after United Nations inspectors in Iran said they were denied access to a suspected nuclear-related military base.

Suncor Energy increased 2.5 percent to C$35.61, while oilfield-services company Calfrac Well Services Ltd. rose 3.5 percent to C$28.16. Nexen Inc., an oil and gas producer with operations on five continents, gained 0.5 percent to C$20.61.

Materials companies rallied as gold erased earlier declines and rose to a three-month high on speculation that the U.S. will extend a stimulus to bolster the economy.

The S&P/TSX Gold Index rose for a second day. Barrick jumped 2.6 percent to C$49.48. Nevsun Resources Ltd., which mines gold in the African country of Eritrea, advanced 6.8 percent to C$4.26.

Lake Shore Gold Corp., which mines in Ontario, surged 11 percent to C$1.68 after the company said new resources at its Gold River Trend are almost triple a previous estimate.

Teck Resources advanced 2.8 percent to C$40.55. First Quantum Minerals Ltd., the country’s second-biggest publicly traded copper producer, gained 0.6 percent to C$23.19.

Keeping Up

Money may flow from commodities into individual oil securities or gold securities “because a lot of the actual common shares have been lagging the bullion price and the oil price,” Michael said.

Aircraft maker Bombardier Inc. advanced 1.3 percent to C$4.73. The company’s business-jet deliveries climbed 21 percent last year, outperforming a global industry in which total shipments declined, a U.S. trade group said.

Financial shares declined after U.S. purchases of previously owned homes climbed less than forecast and reports signaled declines in European and Chinese manufacturing.

Manulife fell 2.1 percent to C$12.45. Brookfield Asset Management Inc., the country’s largest real-estate company, retreated 1.7 percent to C$31.23. Sun Life Financial Inc., Canada’s third largest insurer, declined 2 percent to C$21.05.

Telus Corp. gained 2.3 percent, the most since Sept. 14, to C$57.20. Canada’s third-largest wireless carrier raised its quarterly dividend by 5 percent and said it will ask shareholders to vote on scrapping its dual-share structure.

Rogers Communications Inc., the country’s largest wireless carrier, gained 1 percent to C$38.15 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings rose 8.3 percent, as customers spent more time on their smartphones.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Porzecanski in New York at kporzecansk1@bloomberg.net. Andrew Theen in New York at atheen@bloomberg.net

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

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