Canadian stocks rose, erasing a loss for the year, as energy and technology shares gained after data showed the economy is on track for its fastest quarterly growth since 2011.
Suncor Energy Inc., the nation’s largest energy producer, climbed 6 percent after raising its dividend and announcing a share buyback program. BlackBerry jumped 4.6 percent after its chief executive officer said he sees sales of its new Q10 device to be in the “tens of millions.” CGI Group Inc. surged to a 13-year high after reporting earnings ahead of estimates.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 143.83 points, or 1.2 percent, to 12,456.50 at 4 p.m. in Toronto after declining as much as 0.6 percent earlier. The benchmark gauge has advanced 0.2 percent this year, erasing a previous loss. Trading volume was 17 percent higher than the 30-day average.
“The oils are doing well today,” said David Cockfield, fund manager with Northland Wealth Management in Toronto. He helps manage C$225 million ($223 million). “Suncor helped. The fact they’re willing to raise their dividend, it’s a show of confidence: ’Hey, we can pay dividends and we’re not worried about future earnings.’ The environment is so negative any bright moment is appreciated.”
Canada’s gross domestic product grew for a second month in February, led by gains at potash miners and factories. Output rose 0.3 percent, matching the revised January gain, to an annualized C$1.57 trillion, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 23 economists was for a 0.2 percent expansion.
Energy, financial and raw-material stocks contributed most to gains, as all 10 industries rose.
Suncor climbed 6 percent to C$31.41 for its biggest advance since October 2011. The Calgary-based oil producer boosted its quarterly dividend 54 percent to 20 cents a share and said it will buy back as much as C$2 billion of stock after scrapping plans for the Voyageur oil-sands project.
Suncor also reported adjusted first-quarter earnings that surpassed analysts’ estimates.
The S&P/TSX Information Technology Index surged 7.7 percent, the most since December 2009.
CGI Group, the Montreal-based technology services provider, surged 18 percent to C$31.90, the highest level since January 2000. CGI reported adjusted second-quarter earnings of 56 Canadian cents a share, ahead of the average estimate of 49 cents according to a Bloomberg survey of 15 analysts.
Kris Thompson, analyst with National Bank Financial, raised his price target for CGI to C$40 from C$30 in a report to clients after the earnings release.
BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion Ltd., added 4.6 percent to C$16.45, the highest level in more than a month. The stock has increased 40 percent this year on optimism that the new BlackBerry 10 lineup can help fuel a comeback.
The company expects to sell several tens of millions of the company’s Q10 smartphone that features a keyboard, CEO Thorsten Heins said in an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles.
Nevsun Resources Ltd. fell 1.6 percent to C$3.77 and Semafo Inc. declined 2.1 percent to C$1.91. The price of gold fell 7.7 percent in April for its biggest monthly drop since December 2011.