Toronto still up on China data

Equity markets in Toronto were positive Thursday in the wake of strong manufacturing data from China

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 58.77 points at noon Thursday to 12,158.83

The Canadian dollar faded 0.12 cents to 100.24 cents U.S.

HSBC Corp.'s purchasing managers' index shows that China's manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in 13 months in November, rising from 49.5 in October to 50.4.

Any reading over 50 indicates expansion. The PMI index measures overall manufacturing activity by surveying numerous indicators including orders, employment and actual production.

The HSBC reading was particularly good news for the global economy, which is still recovering slowly from the 2008 financial crisis and recession.

It's also a big positive for a primarily resource-industry based market such as the TSX. China, the world's second-largest economy, has had a huge appetite for commodities, in turn raising prices for oil and metals and stock prices for energy and mining companies.

The tech sector led TSX advancers with Research In Motion Ltd. ahead 73 cents, or 7%, to $10.96.

Industrials were also higher with Canadian National Railway ahead 81 cents to $86.57.

Financials also provided lift as Sun Life Financial rose 23 cents to $27.13.

Oil prices dipped after running up strongly in the past few days on concerns that fighting between Israel and Hamas could spread, jeopardizing shipments of oil from the Mideast

The January crude contract was off five cents to $87.33 U.S. a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while the energy sector was up. Suncor Energy advanced 20 cents to $33.37.

Copper price rose in the wake of the Chinese report with the December contract up a cent to $3.51 U.S. a pound. Copper is viewed as an economic bellwether as it is used in so many applications. China is the world's biggest consumer of the metal.

The mining sector climbed with Teck Resources up 27 cents to $32.04.

The gold sector rose as Goldcorp Inc. was ahead 39 cents to $41.35.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported this morning that retail sales added 0.1% to $39.1 billion in September, following increases in the previous two months.

The nation's number crunchers also said that those of us receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in September declined by 5,700, or 1.1%, to 525,900.

Elsewhere, falling home prices and an uptick in household income made Canadian home ownership slightly more affordable in the third quarter, but the longer-term trend is largely unchanged, according to a report by RBC Economics


The TSX Venture Exchange gained 3.35 points to 1,245.90

All but one of the 14 Toronto subgroups were positive by the lunch hour. Information technology issues surged 3.4%, while the metals and mining group chugged along 1.2% and industrials grew 0.6%.

The lone naysayer was in health-care, 0.2% less robust than Wednesday.


U.S. markets were closed Thursday for Thanksgiving