Canada Stocks Rise as Energy Gains While Technology Slips

Canadian stocks gained after two days of declines as energy companies increased with the price of oil while raw-material and technology companies fell.

Encana Corp. climbed 4.6 percent after saying it was doubling its oil production by buying fields from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Agrium Inc. dropped 1.2 percent after lowering its projection for second-quarter earnings. Talisman Energy Inc. added 8 percent after a report said the company was considering selling some of its assets.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 44.11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 14,656.40 at 4 p.m. in Toronto, after falling as much as 0.3 percent earlier in the day. The gauge dropped the most in three weeks yesterday.

The market fluctuated on comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, said Ian Nakamoto, director of research with MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc. in Toronto. Yellen said today the economy is growing but still isn’t near the central bank’s targets.

Some recent economic data points have been positive while others fell short of expectations, Nakamoto said. “You need a series of economic boosters to get people excited.” His firm manages C$4.7 billion ($4.3 billion).

West Texas Intermediate oil rose for a second day after the American Petroleum Institute said stockpiles declined in the U.S. Brent crude gained in London as western countries considered new sanctions against Russia.

Canadian energy companies increased 0.6 percent as a group, along with seven of the other nine industries in the benchmark index. Telecommunications companies rose the most, at 1 percent. Materials companies fell 1.1 percent as the price of gold slumped 1.5 percent to $1,288.90 an ounce.

‘Some Smoke’

Avigilon Corp. declined 8.7 percent to C$23.85, the biggest drop since August 2012, after saying its chief financial officer Bradley Bardua retired for health reasons. Bank of Montreal and Raymond James analysts said they were reviewing their buy ratings on the stock.

“Maybe there is no fire, but certainly some smoke,” said Raymond James analyst Steven Li in a note to clients. “This is now the third senior departure in the last six months.”

Encana rose 4.6 percent to C$25.69. The Calgary-based energy producer is trying to boost investor returns by shifting toward crude oil from natural gas. The $3.1 billion deal with Freeport-McMoRan gives Encana 45,500 net acres (18,413 hectares) in Texas’s oil-rich Eagle Ford basin.

Agrium dropped 1.2 percent to C$103.04. The fertilizer miner said on a conference call today it has a plan to cut nitrogen operations downtime that it earlier said would lower production in the second quarter.

Talisman Energy

Talisman Energy rose 8 percent to C$12.02. The company and Statoil ASA are looking at selling their joint oil venture in Texas, potentially for more than $4 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Arsenal Energy Inc. added 6.2 percent to reach C$7.36 as it boosted its forecast for oil and gas production this year and raised its dividend.

Novadaq Technologies Inc. fell 14 percent to C$15.37, the most since 2010, after reporting a first-quarter loss of 8 cents a share, wider than the loss of 5 cents estimated by analysts.

Tim Hortons Inc. fell 1.3 percent to C$58.89 after reporting first-quarter profit that missed analyst estimates. Analysts said U.S. sales were weak and the cost of introducing a new credit card weighed on the company.

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