CANADA STOCKS-China data helps drive TSX higher

Reuters

* TSX up 53.93 points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,734.69 * Six of 10 main index sectors advance * B2Gold drops after plan to acquire Australia's Papillon By John Tilak TORONTO, June 3 (Reuters) - Canada's benchmark stock index rose for a third straight session on Tuesday, driven by gains in the share prices of energy producers and financial companies, as positive economic data from China boosted sentiment.

Surveys showed that China's factory and services sectors in May reached their strongest levels in months as demand rebounded.

While a drop in copper prices weighed on some mining stocks, the energy sector benefited from an advance in the price of U.S. crude oil.

Investors also looked ahead to the release of the closely-watched monthly U.S. jobs report on Friday to see how growth in the world's biggest economy was shaping up.

"There's really no bad news out there. Even the concerns about China are easing a little bit, with the stimulus push by the policymakers there," said Marcus Xu, portfolio manager at MY Capital Management Corp in Vancouver.

"We're in a bit of a trading range here," he added. "Every time the market makes a new high, it had to revert back a little. But I think the market will slowly trend higher," he said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 53.93 points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,734.69. The index is up more than 8 percent so far this year.

"We believe that the Canadian stock market will end the year higher than where it is right now," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds, who expects much of the growth to come from natural resources sectors.

Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Tuesday.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.5 percent, with Toronto Dominion Bank climbing 0.7 percent to C$54.35.

Shares of energy producers advanced 0.7 percent. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd rose 1.4 percent to C$45.15, and Suncor Energy Inc added 0.4 percent to C$42.22.

With the price of copper futures down 0.9 percent, diversified miner Teck Resources Ltd gave back 1.3 percent to end at C$24.19.

In corporate news, B2Gold Corp said it would buy Australia's Papillon Resources Ltd in an all-stock deal worth $570 million to gain access to its Fekola gold deposit in Mali. B2Gold shares dropped 2.3 percent to C$2.56.

Iamgold Corp shot up 12.1 percent. The gold miner said it was unclear why its stock had surged in afternoon trading and stressed that the company had no news pending at this time.

($1=$1.09 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway and G Crosse)

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