Canadian Stocks Have Biggest Gain of Year on U.S. Jobless Claims

Canadian stocks rose for a third day, giving the benchmark index the largest gain of the year, as initial jobless claims in the U.S. fell for the first time in three weeks.

Energy companies climbed 1.5 percent as NuVista Energy Ltd. and Trinidad Drilling Ltd. led gains. Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. rallied 13 percent as its fiscal third-quarter profit beat estimates. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. jumped 2.8 percent on predictions the price of potash will climb above $400 a metric ton. BlackBerry Ltd. increased 2.5 percent, boosting gains this week to 4.5 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index increased 153.71 points, or 1.1 percent, to 13,713.40 at 4 p.m. in Toronto, for the largest advance since Dec. 18. The gauge erased its loss for the year, rising 0.7 percent for 2014. Trading in S&P/TSX stocks was 12 percent higher than the 30-day average at the close.

“There’s not a lot of activity aside from optimism to buy ahead of tomorrow’s job reports,” Brian Huen, a fund manager with Red Sky Capital Management Ltd., which oversees C$230 million ($207 million), said by phone from Toronto. “The market has been somewhat volatile and Canada, like the U.S. market, was in a bit of an oversold position coming into today.”

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 20,000 to 331,000 in the period ended Feb. 1, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decrease to 335,000.

Jobs Data

Canada and the U.S. report employment data tomorrow. Figures from the U.S. are projected to show a 180,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The unemployment rate probably held at 6.7 percent, the lowest since October 2008.

Canada’s merchandise trade deficit widened for a third month in December, exceeding all economist forecasts, as imports led by energy reached a record high. The deficit of C$1.66 billion followed a November shortfall that was revised to C$1.53 billion from C$940 million, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa.

Nine of 10 main industries in the S&P/TSX advanced. Phone companies jumped 1.7 percent. Industrial, financial and utilities shares gained at least 1.2 percent. Raw-materials producers rose 0.7 percent.

Energy companies added 1.5 percent. NuVista climbed 8.3 percent to C$9.05, the highest since August 2011. Trinidad rose 6.6 percent to C$9.90 and Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. jumped 6 percent to C$8.28.

Canaccord Results

Canaccord, Canada’s largest non-bank brokerage, rallied 13 percent, the biggest gain since December 2008, to C$7.79. Profit for the period ended Dec. 31 rose 78 percent to C$18.3 million, or 14 cents a share, from a year earlier.

Chief Executive Officer Paul Reynolds said results were driven by record performance in the U.K. and Europe, and record contributions from its Australian business. Canaccord expanded beyond Canada with its 2012 takeover of U.K. stockbroker Collins Stewart Hawkpoint Plc.

Potash Corp. jumped 2.8 percent to C$36.78. OAO EuroChem, a Russian fertilizer maker building $7 billion of potash projects, expects prices to rebound above $400 a metric ton on mining costs and demand.

Prices of the material slumped after OAO Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer, plunged the $20 billion global market into turmoil in July by abandoning a marketing venture controlling 40 percent of exports.

BlackBerry Climbs

BlackBerry increased 2.5 percent to C$11.02. The smartphone maker has soared 9.3 percent over three days. CIBC analyst Todd Coupland wrote earlier this week that the company sees itself becoming cash-flow positive by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Detour Gold Corp. jumped 3.4 percent to C$7.01. Cormark Securities Inc. analyst Richard Gray gave the stock a new buy rating with a 12-month target price of C$13 a share.

Bombardier Inc. rose 2.4 percent to C$4.20. The Montreal-based rail equipment manufacturer won a 1 billion-pound ($1.63 billion) contract to build 65 trains for London’s Crossrail route, securing work at Britain’s last railcar factory after Siemens AG withdrew from the bidding.

Bombardier’s shares declined 11 percent this year through yesterday.

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