By Sarah Pringle, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Canadian stocks extended their climb into a second session on Friday, highlighted by quarterly results from Mega Brands, TransForce and Fairfax Financial Holdings.
Toronto’s S&P/TSX Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598478/delayed CA:GSPTSE +0.94% added 126.5 points, or 1.1%, to settle at 11,766.25. Leading the sectors, metals and mining stocks rallied 2.5%, followed by a 2% climb in information technology stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598463/delayed XX:TORGC194 +1.03% and 1.5% rise in financial stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598468/delayed XX:TORGC189 +1.05%
Canada’s benchmark equities index finished the week with gains of 1.2%, lagging Wall Street, where the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.73% , and the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.27% , which ended above 13,000 Friday for the first time since May, made even greater headway.
On the international economic front, pledges by European Union leaders to defend the euro “perhaps not dispelled but perhaps eased some concern,” said Peter Buchanan, senior economist at CIBC World Markets.
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Despite slowing to 1.5% in the second quarter, better-than expected growth in the U.S. also added fuel to the market, said Buchanan.
Further, investors are looking ahead to Fed meetings next week, he said.
“Some observers are hoping they will pull another rabbit out of the bag... some people are cautiously optimistic and they could certainly add in extension on the guidance,” said Buchanan.
Energy stocks saw gains across the board, with Progress Energy Resources Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206305026/delayed CA:PRQ -1.66% jumping 13.8%, Talisman Energy Inc. climbing 5.7%, and Ithaca Energy Inc. tacking on 6.8%.
Strengthening shares like those of Progress Energy fell in line with its commodity future, as euro-zone optimism buoyed crude for September /zigman2/quotes/209726679/delayed CLU22 -1.36% , climbing 74 cents to end at $90.13 on the New York Mercantile Stock Exchange. Read more on oil.
In earnings news, Mega Brands Inc. posted a second-quarter profit about five times higher than the same quarter a year ago. Shares of the toy maker rallied 9.3% following the news.
TransForce Inc. posted a 30% rise in second-quarter profit, fueling an 6.3% jump in the trucking company’s shares, while Eldorado Gold Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207321207/delayed CA:ELD +3.47% rose 5.5% despite a 39% lower second-quarter profit, from a year ago.
Eldorado also trimmed its 2012 gold production estimates due to delays at its Kisladag mine in Turkey and Eastern Dragon project in China.
Second-quarter earnings for Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207415723/delayed CA:FFH -1.75% rose 14%, however shares of the insurance company slipped 0.5%.
TMX Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208003915/delayed CA:X +1.52% , operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, reported its second-quarter profit plunged 97%, citing costs related to its Maple Group acquisition.
More than 40% of firms that are components of the blue-chip S&P/TSX Composite have beaten market expectations for the quarter, with 52 members scheduled to post earnings next week. In comparison, 72% among the S&P 500 have exceeded estimates. /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.73%
The TSX has underperformed the S&P 500 over the past few months.
In foreign exchange trading, Canada’s dollar rose against the greenback /zigman2/quotes/210561978/realtime/sampled USDCAD +0.4539% , with one U.S. dollar purchasing C$1.0041 vs. C$1.0100 Thursday.