Canada Stocks Rise for Third Straight Month Amid Bank Earnings

Canadian stocks rose, for a third straight monthly gain, as Canadian National Railway Co. surged on increased North American rail traffic and Royal Bank of Canada climbed after reporting higher earnings.

Canadian National, which operates railroads, added 2.9 percent as weekly rail traffic in North America rose 4.7 percent. Royal Bank added 0.9 percent after posting better-than-expected earnings and raising its dividend. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce lost 0.9 percent after reporting a decline in profit. Catamaran Corp. a pharmacy services provider, dropped 2.1 percent after its 2013 revenue projection trailed estimates.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 89.44 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,821.83 in Toronto. The S&P/TSX climbed 1.1 percent in February, for a third month of gains.

“It’s all about sentiment right now, the crowd is bullish so full speed ahead,” Keith Richards, a fund manager with ValueTrend Wealth Management, said in a phone interview from Barrie, Ontario. The firm manages about C$100 million. “People are buying because they’re afraid to lose on the upside, which is a sign the market top is approaching.”

Bank stocks contributed most to gains in the S&P/TSX as eight of 10 industries advanced. Trading volume is 27 percent higher than the 30-day average.

Bank Earnings

Royal Bank, the nation’s largest lender, added 54 Canadian cents to C$64.02 after posting adjusted first-quarter earnings of C$1.38 a share, ahead of the C$1.32 average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The bank raised its quarterly dividend 5 percent to 63 Canadian cents a share.

Toronto-Dominion Bank climbed 0.7 percent to C$84.85. First-quarter profit climbed 21 percent on higher Canadian and U.S. consumer bank results. The bank raised its quarterly dividend.

CIBC slipped 74 Canadian cents to C$83.14 after reporting a 4.4 percent drop in profit to C$798 million.

Canadian National gained C$2.98 to C$104.66, an all-time high. North American rail traffic rose 4.7 percent year-over-year to 672,000 units in the week ended Feb. 23, Lee Klaskow, an analyst with Bloomberg Industries, said in a report today.

Catamaran declined C$1.20 to C$55.57. The company, which provides technology services for the pharmacy and health-care industries, said it expects $14.2 billion to $14.6 billion in revenues in 2013, short of analysts’ expectations of $14.9 billion. Catamaran sees 2013 adjusted earnings per share of $1.81 to $1.88, with consensus estimates at $1.84.

Barrick Gold Corp. dropped 1.1 percent to C$31.27 and Goldcorp declined 0.7 percent to C$33.66. Gold for April delivery fell 1.1 percent to settle at $1,578.10 an ounce in New York, capping its fifth straight month of declines for the longest losing stretch in 16 years.