Canada Stocks Rise as Commodities Rally, BCE Clinches Astral Buy

Canadian stocks rose for a second day, snapping a streak of four losing weeks, as phone companies rallied after a BCE Inc. deal got regulatory approval and materials producers surged on higher metals prices.

BCE, Canada’s largest telephone company, rose 2.8 percent after regulators accepted its bid to acquire Astral Media Inc. for C$3 billion. Astral, a Quebec broadcaster, gained 3.6 percent. Yamana Gold Inc. added 9.3 percent as the precious metal rebounded from a 34-month low. BlackBerry plunged 27 percent after reporting a first-quarter loss and weaker-than estimated sales of its BB10 smartphones.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 123.33 points, or 1 percent, to 12,129.11 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The gauge gained 1.1 percent for the week and pared its monthly loss to 4.1 percent. The S&P/TSX fell 4.9 percent in the second quarter, the first drop in a year. Trading volume was 26 percent higher than the 30-day average at this time of the day.

“There’s a bounce in the gold sector today which has been decimated, and some stabilization in the telcos, which were knocked hard by the Verizon chatter,” said Bob Decker, fund manager with Aurion Capital Management in Toronto. He helps manage C$6 billion ($5.7 billion) at the firm. “The debate on the timing of quantitative easing tapering is driving things and gold has found a round number it likes. There’s a bit of short covering and bottom fishing today.”

U.S. Federal Reserve officials assured investors yesterday that stimulus efforts would remain in place until economic growth hit the central bank’s targets.

Canada GDP

Canada’s economy grew for a fourth straight month in April, rising 0.1 percent, data today showed. The gain marks the longest string of monthly expansions since September 2011, signaling a further revival from a slump in the second half of last year that was led by investment and exports.

Eight of 10 groups in the S&P/TSX advanced today. Phone stocks rallied 2.5 percent, paring the industry’s worst weekly loss in four years. A report that Verizon Communications Inc. had placed a bid for Wind Mobile to enter the Canadian market sent the group tumbling 6 percent on June 26.

BCE gained 2.8 percent to C$43.12 and Astral advanced 3.6 percent to C$49.96. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved a union between the two media companies yesterday, as long as BCE agrees to conditions including investing C$247 million in programming and not withholding content from competitors.

Phone Rebound

Telus jumped 3 percent to C$30.71 after dropping 11 percent in the previous two sessions. Rogers Communications Inc., Canada’s largest wireless carrier, rose 2.1 percent to C$41.20.

Shaw Communications Inc. climbed 5.6 percent to C$25.24 after reporting third-quarter sales that topped analysts’ estimates. The company also raised its year-end forecast for cash flow.

Materials producers rallied 4.7 percent, the biggest gain since April. The S&P/TSX Gold Index surged 8.9 percent, the most since 2009, as all 25 stocks advanced. The gold gauge rose 0.3 percent this week, snapping three weeks of losses.

China Gold International Resources Corp. jumped 12 percent to C$2.80 and Yamana Gold surged 9.3 percent to C$10.03. The price of gold rebounded from a 34-month low.

Metals Rally

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. added 2.3 percent to C$15.60 as the price of copper rose as much as 1 percent before closing 0.1 percent lower in New York. Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. jumped 19 percent as silver prices jumped.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd., sank 27 percent to C$11.03, the biggest loss since December. The company shipped 6.8 million smartphones last quarter, including about 2.7 million BlackBerry 10 models. Analysts had estimated total shipments of 7.5 million, with 3.6 million BlackBerry 10 units.

Technology stocks, which include BlackBerry, slumped 7.8 percent, the most in 21 months.

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