Canadian Stocks Rise as Bank, Energy Gains Overshadow Gold Slump

Canadian stocks rose, sending the benchmark index higher for a fourth day, as gains among banks and energy shares offset declines in precious-metals producers.

Royal Bank of Canada advanced 0.6 percent. Suncor Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc. gained at least 1.2 percent. Barrick Gold Corp. and New Gold Inc. tumbled more than 3.2 percent as the metal’s price slumped 1.3 percent. Westjet Airlines Ltd. dropped 7.5 percent after reporting weaker April traffic figures.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 10.19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,464.11 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark equity gauge gained 1.2 percent over the past four days. Trading volume was in line with the 30-day average.

“The banks are performing well and people are picking away at energy names with the unrest in the Middle East,” said Arthur Salzer, chief executive officer with Northland Wealth Management in Toronto. His firm manages C$225 million ($224 million).

Bank, consumer discretionary and energy stocks contributed most to gains in the S&P/TSX. Royal Bank of Canada advanced 0.6 percent to C$61.71, its highest close in a month.

Suncor, Canada’s largest oil producer, rallied 2.1 percent to C$31.45 while Cenovus advanced 1.2 percent to C$30.55.

Israel launched air strikes against targets in Syria on May 5. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed his country’s right to self-defense and Syria threatened retaliation against Israel. Crude slid 0.6 percent to $95.62 a barrel, falling for the first time in four days.

Gold Producers

Raw-materials producers paced losses, falling 1.3 percent as a group. Gold producers slumped 2.7 percent to a two-week low, with 26 of 30 stocks falling.

Barrick Gold declined 3.2 percent to C$19.80 and New Gold lost 5.5 percent to C$7.21 as gold futures for June delivery tumbled 1.3 percent to $1,448.80 an ounce in New York.

Gold fell after Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem discussed details for the European banking union project, adding to signs that the regions’s leaders will act to contain its fiscal crisis and eroding demand for haven assets.

Westjet, the discount airliner based in Calgary, dropped 7.5 percent to C$22.87. Westjet reported an April load factor of 82.7 percent, down 3.5 percentage points compared with a year earlier. Load factor is a measure of available seats sold.

The company also announced plans to upgrade its fleet with 10 new jetliners from Boeing Co. with a catalog value of $891 million while unloading 10 older jets. Westjet will likely incur a non-cash loss of C$60 million to C$70 million once it gets rid of the older aircraft.

Westjet reported a profit of 68 cents a share in the first quarter, ahead of consensus expectations of 64 cents according to a Bloomberg analyst survey.