Canada Stocks Rise as BlackBerry Rally Offsets Commodities Drop

Canadian stocks advanced as BlackBerry Ltd. rallied along with utilities and industrial companies, offsetting losses in commodity producers amid concern about a U.S. military strike on Syria.

BlackBerry jumped 4.9 percent after a report the mobile phone maker aims to find a buyer by November. Air Canada, the nation’s largest airline, climbed 2.5 percent for a fourth day of gains. Niko Resources Ltd. lost 9.5 percent as crude slipped for the third time in four days. Torex Gold Resources Inc. slid 5.6 percent and Silvercorp Metals Inc. sank 4.2 percent as the prices of both metals fell.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 17.31 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,757.81 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The benchmark Canadian equity gauge has risen 2.6 percent this year. Trading volume was 2.1 percent lower than the 30-day average at this time of the day.

“The oil price and gold price are reflecting geopolitical risk,” said Jeffrey Burchell, a fund manager with Aston Hill Financial Inc., in a telephone interview from Toronto. His firm manages about C$8 billion ($7.6 billion). “People are getting settled in and trying to figure out what to do next.”

Gold and silver futures fell the most in eight weeks. Torex Gold sank 5.6 percent to C$1.53. Silvercorp Metals fell 4.2 percent to C$3.85.

The S&P/TSX Materials Index lost 0.1 percent as 35 of 55 members retreated. The group has plunged 24 percent this year, the worst performer among 10 industries in the S&P/TSX.

Chemical Weapons

The international community’s credibility is on the line after Syria used chemical weapons against civilians, U.S. President Barack Obama said at a news conference today in Stockholm, repeating a claim the Syrian government has denied.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize a limited U.S. military operation in Syria, the first step toward congressional endorsement of the effort.

Torex Gold Resources Inc. slid 6.1 percent Silvercorp Metals Inc. sank 4.2 percent as the prices of both metals fell.

Canada’s trade deficit widened to C$931 million in July from C$460 million in June, Statistics Canada said. The gap exceeded the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Exports fell 0.6 percent to C$39.2 billion on a 7.3 percent drop in shipments of metal and non-mineral products.

“The hearty gain in energy exports that the street was expecting didn’t quite materialize,” Emanuella Enenajor, an economist with CIBC World Markets Inc., said in a note to clients today. “Overall a disappointing figure.”

Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada today kept its main interest rate unchanged at 1 percent for the 24th meeting. Policy makers reiterated that current monetary policy remains appropriate as an expected rotation of demand to exports and investment is being delayed.

BlackBerry advanced 4.9 percent to C$11.28. The mobile device maker has held talks with bidders and plans to begin an auction process soon, Dow Jones said, citing people familiar with the situation.

Niko Resources declined 9.5 percent to C$4.29 and Bankers Petroleum Ltd. slipped 0.3 percent to C$3.60. Crude for October delivery lost 1.2 percent to $107.23 a barrel in New York.

Air Canada, the nation’s largest airline, rose 2.5 percent to C$2.89. The stock has jumped 8.7 percent in the past four sessions, the longest winning streak since June.

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