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Commodities, Global Cues Lift TSX Thursday Morning - Canadian Commentary

Canadian stocks were extending gains for a second session Thursday morning as commodities moved higher amid a mixed batch of economic data from both sides of the border.

While Canada reported a dip in its trade surplus in February, data from the U.S. revealed that trade deficit shrank dramatically in February dipping to the lowest level in several years. Meanwhile, cues from the euro zone came in mostly encouraging. Euro area's industrial output showed a surprising rise and Italy succeeded in raising debt closer to the upper ceiling of its targeted amount.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 87.01 points or 0.72 percent to 12,113.77, a day after snapping its five-session losing streak.

The Diversified Materials Index surged nearly 3 percent tracking firm copper prices. Inmet Mining (IMN.TO), Teck Resources (TCK_B.TO) and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) were up close to 4 percent each.

Base-metals miner Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) added over 1 percent after announcing that it would acquire an 80 percent interest in the Touro copper project, owned by two private Spanish companies for about 60 million euros

The price of crude oil was steady near $104 Thursday morning, with crude for May delivery gaining $1.13 to $103.83 a barrel.

Earlier today, the IEA in its monthly Oil Market Report, held its 2012 oil demand growth forecast steady at 0.8 mbd to 89.90 mbd. Meanwhile, the OPEC, in its Oil Market Report released today, said world oil demand growth in 2012 would remain at 0.9 mbd and noted that improving consumption in Japan could positively impact world oil demand growth.

In the oil patch, Pacific Rubiales Energy (PRE.TO), Petrominerales (PMG.TO), Baytex Energy Corp. (BTE.TO) and Total Energy (TOT.TO) gained around 3 percent each.

The price of gold was moving higher Thursday morning as the US dollar was paring its recent gains versus a basket of currencies. Gold for June delivery gained $15.10 to $1,675.40 an ounce.

In the gold space, Eldorado Gold (ELD.TO) soared nearly 8 percent. Allied Nevada Gold (ANV.TO) and Detour Gold (DGC.TO) were up around 3 percent each. Goldcorp. (G.TO), Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) added around 2 percent each.

In the financial space, Fairfax Financial Holdings (FFH.TO) and Home Capital Group (HCG.TO) gathered around 2 percent each.

BMO Financial Group (BMO.TO) edged up 0.25 percent after it said it would acquire CTC Consulting, LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

Meanwhile, cable telecommunications services provider Cogeco Cable Inc. (CCA.TO) lost nearly 4 percent after reporting earnings that came in below consensus. The company posted second quarter profit of C$83.13 million or C$1.70 per share, higher than C$32.1 million or C$0.66 per share last year. However, earnings per share from continuing operations fell to C$0.63 from C$0.85 in the prior-year quarter. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of C$0.99 per share this quarter.

Media and entertainment company Corus Entertainment (CJR_B.TO) lost over 2 percent despite reporting a much improved second quarter net profit of C$31.60 million or C$0.38 per share compared to net profit of C$27.30 million or C$0.34 per share reported for the same period last year.

In economic news, Statistics Canada said trade surplus decreased from $1.9 billion in January to $292 million in February as exports declined 3.9 percent and imports edged up 0.2 percent.

From south of the border, the U.S. Labor Department said that initial jobless claims rose to 380,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 367,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge up to 359,000 from the 357,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Separately, a report from the US Commerce Department showed U.S. exports ticking up slightly with imports falling bringing the trade deficit to $46 billion, down notably from the $52.5 billion mark posted in January. Most experts had expected the deficit to shrink somewhat from January levels, but the consensus of economists had the deficit much higher, around $51.7 billion.

Elsewhere, industrial production in the euro area unexpectedly increased in February, helped by a marked increase in energy production, data released by statistical office Eurostat showed. Industrial production moved up 0.5 percent on a monthly basis in February, after remaining flat in the previous month. Economists were looking for a 0.2 percent decrease. Production in the 27-member European Union edged up 0.2 percent month-on-month during the month.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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