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TSX Up As Energy Stocks Move Higher On Deal, China Data - Canadian Commentary


Canadian stocks were moving higher Monday morning, with energy stocks turning in a particularly strong performance after the Canadian government approved China's CNOOC Limited $15.1 billion takeover of Canadian energy firm Nexen Inc. The government also approved Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas' $5.2 billion bid for Progress Energy Corp.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 52.08 points or 0.43 percent to 12,211.67.

The price of crude oil was recovering from its three-week low Monday morning after China reported healthy demand for oil. Data over the weekend revealed that China's refinery runs rose 9.1 percent to 10.125 million bpd from a year earlier. Meanwhile, China's factory output and retail sales jumped in November as consumer inflation rebounded from a 33-month low.

Crude for January added $0.53 to $86.46 a barrel.

In the oil patch, Nexen Inc. (NXY.TO) jumped nearly 15 percent, while Progress Energy Corp. (PRQ.TO).was adding over 13 percent.

Paramount Resources (POU.TO) and Trilogy Energy (TET.TO) rose close to 3 percent each.

Th price of gold was moving higher Monday morning as the U.S. dollar was paring recent gains ahead of the outcome of a Fed meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Gold for February gained $10.50 to $1,716.10 an ounce.

Among gold plays, Royal Gold (RGL.TO), Goldcorp. (G.TO) and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) gathered around 1 percent each.

Gold miner Argonaut Gold Inc. (AR.TO) gained over 2 percent after announcing that it has received final court approval of plan of arrangement to acquire Prodigy Gold Inc (PDG.V). Shares of Prodigy moved up 3 percent.

Meanwhile, contemporary fashion apparel retailer Le Chateau Inc. (CTU_A.TO) lost about 6 percent after reporting a narrower third quarter net loss of C$3.6 million or C$0.14 per share compared to a net loss of C$4.1 million or C$0.17 per share the previous year.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM.TO) was down over 2 percent.

Cash Store Financial Services Inc. (CSF.TO, CSF) dived close to 30 percent after it said it would restate its prior issued unaudited consolidated interim financial statements.

In economic news, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said the seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts came in at 196,125 units in November, down from 203,487 in October. Housing starts remained below their recent trend and continued to fall for a third straight month. This decrease was mainly attributable to declines in single-detached and multi-unit housing construction in Ontario and British Columbia.

Elsewhere, Germany's exports rose unexpectedly in October, rebounding from the previous month's drop, on demand from outside Europe. Exports grew by 0.3 percent in October from September, Destatis reported. Economists had forecast shipments to fall 0.3 percent following last month's 2.4 percent drop.

Meanwhile, euro zone investor confidence increased for a fourth consecutive month in December, data released by the think-tank Sentix showed. The Sentix Index rose to -16.8 in December from -18.8 in November and -22.2 in October. Economists had forecast an increase in the reading to -16.

Over the weekend, China reported that factory output moved up 10.1 percent from a year earlier in November, while the inflation rate rose to 2 percent, slightly below the projected 2.1 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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