Toronto stocks rallied again on Thursday and finished at a fresh three-month closing high. Technology and financial stocks led Toronto's main index into the green.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 97.26 points or 1.05% to move at 9,343.37. Bay Street's main index finished at its best level since Jan. 6.
Technology stocks posted a 2.9% gain after Nokia said it expects second quarter worldwide mobile device volume to be flat or show modest sequential growth. Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM.TO) added 6.6% to lead the way.
Financials rallied 2.4% as JPMorgan Chase & Co. beat analysts' expectations in the first quarter. Among Canadian big banks, Royal Bank (RY.TO) added 3%, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) gained 2.9%, Toronto-Dominion (TD.TO) added 2.1% and National Bank (NA.TO) rose 1.9%.
On the downside, gold stocks dropped 5.25% and materials stocks lost 3.4% as gold prices declined $13.70 to close at $879.80 an ounce on the Comex. Seabridge (SEA.TO) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) both fell 7.3%, Goldcorp (G.TO) dropped 7.1% and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) dropped 5.7%.
In other corporate news, AbitibiBowater (ABH.TO) lost 1.6% as the company announced it will file for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Canada.
Tembec (TMB.TO) gained 5.25% after the company said its subsidiary, Tembec USA LLC, sold its idled coated paper mill located in St. Francisville, Louisiana to West Feliciana Acquisition, LLC. The mill was indefinitely idled in July 2007.
Cangene Corp. (CNJ.TO) slipped 0.4% after the company said that the Chemical Biological Medical Systems Project Management Office of the United States Department of Defense has signed an agreement to purchase Cangene's Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human).
On the economic front, Canadian manufacturing sales increased 2.2% to $42.9 billion, the first increase since July 2008, according to Statistics Canada. Motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts industries in Ontario were behind most of the gains in February, following widespread slowdowns and shutdowns in January. Excluding motor vehicles and parts and accessories, manufacturing sales edged down 0.2%, the seventh monthly decline in a row.
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