Canada Stocks Rise to a 5-Year High as Couche-Tard Gains

Canadian stocks rose to a five-year high as Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled he wouldn’t invade eastern Ukraine and the U.S. reported home construction data that showed the industry was stabilizing.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which operates convenience stores, rose 2.1 percent after saying third-quarter earnings increased and naming a new chief executive officer. NovaCopper Inc. rose 5.5 percent after reporting increased resources at a copper deposit in Alaska. Ivanhoe Energy Inc. dropped 10 percent after suspending its Tamarack oil sands project.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 137.09 points, or 1 percent, to 14,368.98 at 4 p.m. in Toronto, the highest level since June 30, 2008. The index has risen 5.5 percent this year.

“This is a headline-driven market,” said Barry Schwartz, fund manager at Baskin Financial Services Inc. in Toronto. He helps manage C$600 million ($541 million) with the firm. “Last week the headlines on Russia and Ukraine were bad news, this week the headlines are good news.”

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, dean of the Group of Seven finance ministers, resigned to pursue work in the private sector. Flaherty, 64, said there is “no doubt” Canada will balance its budget as promised in the year starting April 2015.

Putin called on the Russian parliament to approve the annexation of Crimea after the Black Sea peninsula voted over the weekend to leave Ukraine. Global stocks lost $1.4 trillion in value last week on investor concern over the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and China’s slowing economy.

Housing starts in the U.S. were little changed in February after declining less than previously estimated a month earlier, indicating the home-building industry is stabilizing after bad winter weather curbed construction.

Poloz Speech

The MSCI World Index rose 0.7 percent as global equity markets advanced for a second day. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said he can’t rule out an interest-rate cut if the economy worsens, following a speech where he blamed harsh winter weather for mainly sparking weaker-than-forecast growth.

First-quarter economic growth may be a bit “softer” than forecast in January, and the global economy may experience a “secular stagnation” that holds down output gains and interest rates, Poloz said in a speech in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Alimentation Couche-Tard added 2.1 percent to $86.70 after saying third-quarter earnings increased 28 percent and announcing Chief Operating Officer Brian Hannasch would replaced Alain Bouchard as chief executive officer. Hannasch joined Couche-Tard in 2001 and helped the company through a 10-fold increase in the number of stores it has, according to a statement.

Copper Deposit

NovaCopper rose 5.5 percent to C$1.54 after reporting increased resources at its Bornite copper deposit in Alaska. Drilling samples returned results that might allow the company to build an open-pit mine at the site, NovaCopper said in a statement.

Canfor Corp. dropped 1.9 percent to C$26.38 and West Fraser Timber Co., another wood producer, fell 0.5 percent to C$50.13. Pulp mills in northern Alberta may be forced to suspend operations as early as this week because a labor dispute by truckers at Canada’s largest port is causing lumber to pile up.

The strike has stopped products from reaching Port Metro Vancouver, said James Gorman, chief executive officer of the Council of Forest Industries, an industry group that represents companies doing business in British Columbia. About 2,000 trucks move items to and from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s facility, which handled 135 million tons of cargo in 2013, up 9 percent from a year earlier, according to its website.

Ivanhoe Energy dropped 10 percent to 63 Canadian cents after suspending activity on the Tamarack oil sands project, citing a delay in the approval process with regulators.

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