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Canada Stocks Rise, Snapping Three Days of Declines as Oil Gains

Canadian stocks rose for the first time this year, after tumbling to a two-week low, as the price of crude halted the longest slide since September and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. surged to a record.

Athabasca Oil Corp. and Encana Corp. rose at least 0.6 percent to pace advances among energy stocks. Valeant jumped 13 percent after providing a 2014 forecast. BlackBerry Ltd. increased 7.4 percent for a second day of gains. Semafo Inc. and Detour Gold Corp. lost more than 0.7 percent as gold slipped a second day.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 101.39 points, or 0.8 percent, to 13,596.93 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark equity gauge lost 0.9 percent over the previous three sessions.

“Today is a continuation of the run we had in December,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research with MacDougall MacDougall & MacTier Inc. in Toronto. The firm manages about C$4.7 billion ($4.37 billion). “The past couple of days were an aberration during the holidays. People are coming back to work and there’s an air of optimism as the big jobs number comes on Friday.”

Statistics Canada and the U.S. Labor Department will provide unemployment rates and new hiring figures for last month on Jan. 10.

Brent crude halted its longest run of declines since September on concern clashes between Iraq’s government and al-Qaeda-linked militants may disrupt oil output. Brent for February settlement rose 0.6 percent in London. West Texas Intermediate crude increased 0.3 percent in New York.

Energy Rally

The S&P/TSX Energy Index rallied 1 percent as 50 of 63 stocks advanced. Athabasca Oil climbed 3.7 percent to C$6.98, for the highest close in two months, and Encana added 0.6 percent to C$18.79.

Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. advanced 5.1 percent to C$8.08 after reporting record production levels at the end of 2013 of 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Valeant jumped 13 percent to C$135.03 as health-care stocks soared 10 percent as a group, the most in the S&P/TSX. Nine of 10 industries advanced on trading volume 7.5 percent higher compared with the 30-day average.

Valeant said in a conference call that all of its business units are expected to expand in 2014, including double-digit growth across its Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Middle East markets. The company will pursue further acquisitions, including at least “one significant deal.”

BlackBerry Keyboards

BlackBerry surged 7.4 percent to C$9.14, the highest level since September. Chief Executive Officer John Chen said the smartphone maker will return its focus to keyboard-equipped phones after struggling to entice customers with touch-screen models last year.

“I personally love the keyboards,” Chen said in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg Television’s Jon Erlichman at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The stock has rallied 13 percent in the past two days. BlackBerry yesterday hired former HTC Corp. and Sony Ericsson executive Ron Louks to run its devices business.

Semafo dropped 0.7 percent to C$3.04 and Detour Gold retreated 2.5 percent to C$5.04, ending a four-day advance, as gold futures for February delivery fell 0.7 percent to $1,229.60 an ounce in New York.

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