(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks settled higher Tuesday, tracking rising global markets, easing economic growth concerns, on some upbeat economic data from the U.S. and Europe. Commodities and global equities were also supported by hopes that central bankers globally will initiate actions for continuation of stimulus measures to spur growth.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Tuesday at 12,736.04, up 28.63 points or 0.23 percent. The index touched an intraday high of 12,820.11 and a low of 12,707.41.
The Diversified Metals & Mining Index gathered 0.40 percent, with Lundin Mining Corp.(LUN.TO) gaining 2.19 percent, Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) up 0.93 percent, Inmet Mining Corp. (IMN.TO) up 0.15 percent, and Osisko Mining Corp. (OSK.TO) moving up 1.07 percent. First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) slipping 0.06 percent.
The Energy Index moved up 0.32 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for April delivery gaining $0.70 or 0.8 percent, to close at $90.82 a barrel Tuesday on the Nymex.
Among energy stocks, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gained 0.78 percent, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) was down 2.05 percent, and Husky Energy Inc. (HSE.TO) down 1.48 percent. Talisman Energy Inc.(TLM.TO) edged up 0.16 percent, while Encana Corp. (ECA.TO) gained 1.17 percent.
The Capped Materials Index edged up 0.06 percent, with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.(POT.TO) moving up 0.45 percent.
The Global Gold Index slipped 0.22 percent, although gold futures for April delivery gained $2.50 or 0.2 percent to close at $1,574.90 an ounce Tuesday on the Nymex.
Among gold stocks, Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) gained 0.39 percent, while Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) slipped 0.31 percent. Iamgold Corp. (IMG.TO) gained 0.47 percent, while Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) shed 0.63 percent.
Gold miner Aurizon Mines Ltd. (ARZ.TO) reiterated its recommendation that shareholders 'reject' the previously announced offer by Alamos Gold Inc. (AGI.TO), and support the arrangement whereby Hecla Mining Co. ( HL ) will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Aurizon. Shares of Aurizon shed 4.23 percent.
The Financial Index gained 0.39 percent, with Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) moving up 0.99 percent, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) gathering 0.28 percent. Royal Bank (RY.TO) edged up 0.22 percent, Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce (CM.TO) added 0.48 percent, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gained 0.46 percent.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) moved up 0.74 percent after reporting its first quarter net income increased to C$1.504 billion from C$1.343 billion in the year ago quarter. Earnings per share were C$1.25, compared to C$1.20 in the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter was C$1.27 up from C$1.22 in the comparable quarter last year and higher than consensus estimates of C$1.25 per share.
The Information Technology Index added 0.38 percent, with BlackBerry Inc. (BB.TO) down 1.83 percent.
The Capped Industrials Index dropped 0.17 percent with Bombardier Inc. (BBD.A.TO, BBD.B.TO) slipping 1.97 percent.
Mobile equipment company Wajax Corp. (WJX.TO) slumped a near 6 percent after announcing fourth-quarter net earnings of C$14.2 million or C$0.84 per share, down from C$16.6 million or C$0.98 per share a year ago.
In economic news from the U.S., activity in the U.S. service sector unexpectedly grew at a slightly faster rate in the month of February, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management, with the index of activity in the sector reaching its highest level in a year. The ISM said its non-manufacturing index crept up to 56.0 in February from 55.2 in January, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the service sector. The increase by the index came as a surprise to economists, who had expected it to dip to 55.0.
From Europe, an indicator of eurozone's service sector activity declined in February, but the rate of fall was less steeper than estimated earlier, detailed results of a survey by Markit Economics showed. The services activity index rose to 47.9 in February from 48.6 in January. The flash reading was 47.3. An index reading below 50 indicates contraction of the sector.
Retail sales in the eurozone increased more than economists expected in January, recovering from the previous month's decrease, latest data showed. Retail sales volume increased 1.2 percent on a monthly basis in January, reversing the previous month's 0.8 percent decrease, which was revised from 0.9 percent, statistical office Eurostat said. Economists had forecast sales to rise 0.3 percent.
Elsewhere, Germany's private sector expanded more than estimated in February, survey data from Markit Economics showed. The final composite output index - which measures the combined output of the manufacturing and service sectors, came in at 53.3 in February, above the flash estimate of 52.7.
Meanwhile, China kept its growth target for the year unchanged at 7.5 percent, reflecting the country's intention to maintain more moderate growth rather than the double-digit growth rates seen in the past decade as part of government efforts to overhaul its growth model and restructure the economy. China's economic growth eased to a 13-year low of 7.8 percent in 2012 from the 9.2 percent recorded in 2011 and 10.3 percent in 2010.
China also slashed the inflation target to 3.5 percent from the previous year's 4 percent, pledging to rein in price pressures more decisively.
China's defense budget showed a double-digit rise in military expenditure, with increased spending also on domestic security as Beijing continues to worry over internal threats.
The People's Liberation Army spending will rise 10.7 percent, while the domestic security allocation will go up by 8.7 per cent, as per the Chinese budget released earlier today at its annual parliament meeting.
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