Canada Stocks Gain as Health-Care Rally Offsets Slump in Copper

Canadian stocks rose for a third day, erasing a loss for the year, as gains in health-care and industrial shares offset declines in raw-material companies amid a slump in copper prices.

Air Canada soared 8.6 percent to lead industrial shares higher. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. added 3.5 percent. HudBay Minerals Inc. dropped 2.7 percent after announcing it would sell more than 18 million shares. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. lost 2.5 percent as copper prices slid 1.3 percent. Teck Resources Ltd. retreated 2.1 percent after Cowen & Co. analysts downgraded the stock.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 14.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,629.41 at 4 p.m. in Toronto. The gauge is up 0.1 percent for the year, erasing an earlier loss.

The Canadian dollar weakened to the lowest level since 2009 amid speculation slowing employment growth will push the Bank of Canada closer to considering lowering interest rates. The loonie, as the Canadian dollar is nicknamed for the waterfowl on its C$1 coin, fell 0.3 percent to C$1.0851 per U.S. dollar.

Copper fell the most in two months after a gauge of Chinese producer prices fell for a 22nd straight month, fanning concern about an economic slowdown in the biggest global user of the metal.

The producer-price index fell 1.4 percent from a year before and consumer-price gains trailed estimates at 2.5 percent, government reports showed in Beijing. Today’s releases followed declines in gauges of manufacturing and services based on surveys of purchasing managers.

Building Permits

Domestic building permits fell for the first time in three months. The value of municipal permits in Canada fell 6.7 percent to C$6.75 billion, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists forecast a 2.7 percent reduction, according to the median of six responses to a Bloomberg survey.

Projects such as apartments and condominiums dropped 8.7 percent to C$1.88 billion in November, curbing the increase over the prior 12 months to 25 percent.

Five of the S&P TSX’s 10 main industries rose. Valeant Pharmaceuticals led health-care companies higher, jumping 3.5 percent to C$143.51.

Air Canada jumped 8.6 percent to C$7.95, reversing three days of losses. The carrier soared 323 percent last year, making it the best performer in the S&P/TSX.

Producers of raw materials and phone companies lost at least 0.6 percent for the largest declines.

First Quantum

First Quantum Minerals decreased 2.5 percent to C$18.31. Copper futures for delivery in March lost 1.3 percent to $3.299 a pound, the biggest decline since Nov. 13.

HudBay Minerals plunged 2.7 percent to C$8.57. The mining company is planning to raise C$150 million in an offering of 18.2 million shares at C$8.25, implying a 6.4 percent discount to its closing price yesterday.

Teck Resources dropped 2.1 percent to C$25.72. Cowen analyst Daniel Scott downgraded the stock to market perform from outperform, citing concerns such as ample global supply and muted demand.

Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd. fell 5.1 percent to C$4.63 as natural gas futures declined 5 percent.

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