Canadian Stocks Rise as Energy Producers Rally on Oil Gains

Canadian stocks rose, after falling the most since November yesterday, as energy shares gained following an unexpected decline in U.S. jobless claims that sent oil prices higher.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd. increased at least 4.4 percent, as crude rose to a three-week high. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. advanced 3.2 percent for its highest close in two months, after an analyst raised his rating for the stock. Quebecor Inc. declined the most in 19 months following the media company’s announcement of lower-than-forecast earnings and a management shuffle.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 55.80 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,799.91 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The S&P/TSX has risen 3 percent this year, underperforming every developed market in the world except Hong Kong and Italy. Trading volume was 8 percent above the 30-day average.

“Energy prices are firming up here, which is helping the TSX today, but without stronger metals and Chinese performance it’s hard to get too excited,” said Youssef Zohny, a portfolio manager with Richardson GMP Ltd., on the phone from Vancouver. Richardson GMP manages about C$15 billion ($15 billion).

Oil rose 0.6 percent to $93.03 in New York, erasing earlier losses of as much as 0.6 percent for its highest settlement since Feb. 25. The U.S. Labor Department said first-time unemployment claims fell by 10,000 to 332,000 last week. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an increase to 350,000.

Energy Shares

Energy shares contributed most to gains in the S&P/TSX, rising 1.1 percent as a group. Six of the benchmark equity index’s 10 groups advanced.

Canadian Natural Resources climbed 4.4 percent to C$33.25, and Advantage Oil & Gas gained 6.5 percent to C$3.46. PetroBakken Energy Ltd. soared 11 percent to C$9.24, the highest since Jan. 23. The oil producer’s parent company, Petrobank Energy & Resources Ltd., soared 13 percent to 70 Canadian cents.

Yamana Gold Inc. rose 2 percent to C$14.91, and Kinross Gold Corp. added 1.9 percent to C$8.12. Gold rose for the fifth time in six sessions, adding 0.1 percent to settle at $1,590.70 an ounce, erasing earlier losses of as much as 0.8 percent.

First Quantum Minerals gained 3.2 percent to C$21.83, its highest close since Jan. 4. Alex Terentiew, analyst with Raymond James Ltd., raised his rating for the stock to outperform from market perform and increasing his price target to C$25 from C$22.

The mining company said March 12 it “anticipates being in a position to complete” its C$4.86 billion hostile takeover offer for Inmet Mining Corp. after about 61 percent of Inmet holders tendered their stock to First Quantum. Inmet rose 1.6 percent to C$71.94.

Quebecor, a cable operator and newspaper publisher, plunged 5.2 percent to C$43.66, the biggest decline since August 2011.

The Montreal-based company said adjusted profit of 89 Canadian cents a share fell short of the C$1.13 average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Quebecor also said President and Chief Executive Officer Pierre Karl Peladeau will become vice chairman of the firm. Robert Depatie will replace him in both roles, effective May 8.