Canadian Stocks Gain as China Growth Accelerates, RIM Advances

Canadian stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index to its third weekly gain, as Research In Motion Ltd. climbed and China’s growth accelerated for the first time in two years.

RIM rallied 7 percent after a Jefferies & Co. analyst upgraded the BlackBerry maker’s stock to buy. Harry Winston Diamond Corp. rose 2.9 percent as Nomura Holdings Inc. analysts said demand for diamonds may exceed supply. Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. plunged 5.2 percent, the most since April 2010, as some Canadian provinces said they will buy generic drugs in bulk.

The S&P/TSX increased 50.96 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,725.69 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark equity gauge, up 1 percent this week, has climbed for the past three weeks, the longest stretch in a year.

“Our fears of a hard landing in China hopefully have been put to rest,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall MacDougall & MacTier Inc. in Toronto, which manages about $4 billion. “The rate of growth is higher than the previous quarter, so I think that’s pulling some money into the Canadian market.‘‘

China’s gross domestic product expanded 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, up from a three-year low of 7.4 percent in the previous period, National Bureau of Statistics data showed. Eight out of 10 groups in the benchmark Canadian equity measure rose today.

Canadian factory sales advanced to a six-month high in November and unfilled orders rose to the most in more than three years on automobile and aircraft demand. Sales climbed 1.7 percent to C$49.9 billion ($50.4 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa.

New Software

RIM climbed to its highest price in almost a year after Jefferies analyst Peter Misek upgraded the stock to a buy, citing the potential for its new software to offer corporate e-mail on rival devices. RIM gained 7 percent to C$15.71, advancing the most in the S&P/TSX.

Shoppers Drug Mart, the country’s largest pharmaceutical chain, posted the biggest loss in the Canadian equity benchmark. Every province except Quebec and three territories plan to buy six generic drugs, which represent about 20 percent of publicly funded spending on such medicines in Canada, in bulk to lower prices, according to a government press release. It lost 5.2 percent to C$41.83.

Diamond Prices

Harry Winston advanced 2.9 percent to C$14.76. Nomura rated the diamond retailer and mining company a buy, and said prices will stay near current levels in 2013, though exposure for the long term is ‘‘worth investigating.’’ Demand will outstrip supply from 2015, which should boost margins for the robust producers, the analysts said.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd., the copper producer in the midst of a C$5.1 billion hostile bid for Inmet Mining Corp., added 1 percent to C$21.25. Copper futures for delivery in March increased 0.5 percent to settle at $3.679 a pound in New York.

Bank of Nova Scotia rose 0.8 percent to C$57.86. Canada’s third-largest bank said it can boost small loans in Mexico as much as 20 percent in a push for business in Latin America, where lending margins are double the Canadian average. A measure of financial companies added 0.5 percent.

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