Canadian stocks rose an 11th day, extending the longest advance in almost two decades, as banks gained and energy stocks rallied amid a takeover.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. jumped 3.7 percent for the biggest gain since October after agreeing to buy Devon Energy Corp.’s oil and natural-gas fields. Crew Energy Inc. and Birchcliff Energy Ltd. climbed at least 2 percent as energy shares added 0.8 percent. Air Canada soared 4.6 percent, halting a four-day slide. Sherritt International Corp. plunged 12 percent as the metals miner cut its dividend.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 42.26 points, or 0.3 percent, to 14,119.73 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark equity gauge has jumped 4.7 percent in 11 days for the longest rally since March 1995 and is trading at the highest level since 2011.
“Commodities didn’t have a very good year last year,” John Kinsey, who helps manage about C$1 billion ($910 million) at Caldwell Securities Ltd. in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “We’re looking for that to change this year, with Europe, Japan and China stimulating growth and the U.S. looking like it’s gaining some traction. All of that combined bodes well for commodities and it looks like that has been helping out recently.”
The S&P/TSX is 1.1 percent below its peak of 14,270.53 reached on April 5, 2011, the highest level since June 2008. The Canadian equity benchmark trades at 19.4 times earnings, its highest valuation since April 2011.
Gains in Canadian stocks this year have been led by gold and silver producers, after the materials-producers group plunged 31 percent in 2013. Detour Gold Corp. has soared 130 percent in 2014, while OceanaGold Corp. and Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. advanced more than 50 percent. Materials producers retreated today as gold dropped from a three-month high and silver ended its longest winning streak in more than three decades.
Six of 10 main industries in the gauge advanced today. Industrials jumped 0.5 percent and financials gained 0.6 percent. Royal Bank of Canada jumped 1.3 percent to C$72.39 and Bank of Montreal rose 0.8 percent to C$72.27, for a 10th straight advance.
Canadian Natural added 3.7 percent to C$40.63, the highest level since February 2012. Canadian Natural will purchase the assets from Devon Energy in a deal worth C$3.13 billion ($2.86 billion).
The purchase will add production near Canadian Natural’s fields in western Canada, the company said today in a statement. Canadian Natural expects production to climb about 7 percent this year, while Devon’s assets will provide about $75 million in cash.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose to a four-month high and natural gas futures surged past $6 per million British thermal units for the highest settlement since December 2008 as inclement weather in the U.S. stoked demand for heating fuels.
Crew Energy increased 2 percent to C$7.71, the highest level since November 2012. Birchcliff Energy climbed 2.6 percent to C$9.98.
Air Canada rose 4.6 percent to C$5.86. The stock had lost 28 percent in four days through yesterday after the carrier forecast a drop in first-quarter profit on Feb. 12 because of a weaker Canadian dollar and “severe” winter weather.
Air Canada was the best performer in the S&P/TSX last year, rising 323 percent.
Sherritt International lost 12 percent, its biggest drop since February 2009, to C$3.02. The metals producer reported adjusted losses per share of 13 Canadian cents during the fourth quarter, missing analysts’ estimates of 1 Canadian cent earnings per share for the period.
Sherritt also cut its quarterly dividend to 1 Canadian cents from 4 Canadian cents and said it wouldn’t pursue its Sulawesi nickel project.