CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits two-week high after Yellen comments

Reuters

* TSX rises 67.22 points, or 0.49 percent, to 13,861.40 * Nine of the 10 main index sectors advance * BlackBerry falls after BBM executive leaves By John Tilak TORONTO, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index hit a two-week high on Tuesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen confirmed the process of winding down the Fed's stimulus program was on track.

Yellen, in her first public remarks as Fed chair, noted that the U.S. labor market recovery was "far from complete" and said there was a need to keep an eye on a broad range of labor market indicators, but in comments soothing to markets she stressed continuity with the policies of her predecessor, Ben Bernanke.

The benchmark Canadian index was up for a sixth straight session, and appeared to be showing signs of stabilizing after a volatile phase triggered by turmoil in emerging markets.

"There seems to be a certain amount of calm," said Michael Newton, a director of wealth management and portfolio manager at ScotiaMcLeod.

"People are looking across the next couple of months and realizing there's not a single identifiable macro event that they see on the horizon," he said. "There's a sense of complacency or an 'all clear' for the foreseeable future." Investors were warming up to the new Fed chair, Newton added. "With Yellen, sentiment has quickly changed, with the realization that she is supportive of the markets and supportive of keeping rates low." The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 67.22 points, or 0.49 percent, at 13,861.40 after rising as high as 13,886.

The index has outperformed the S&P 500 so far this year but Newton expects Canadian equities to trail the U.S. stock market in 2014 because of the uncertainty surrounding growth in China, a major market for Canadian commodities.

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

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.5 percent. Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.6 percent to C$70.38, and Bank of Nova Scotia climbed 0.9 percent to C$62.29.

Energy shares advanced 0.5 percent, with the sector the receiving some support from a gain in the price of Brent crude oil. In the group, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd climbed 0.9 percent to C$37.71.

Shares of gold-mining companies surged 2 percent, a reflection of a jump in the price of bullion. Goldcorp Inc was up 2 percent, at C$29.32.

In corporate news, BlackBerry Ltd said on Monday that Andrew Bocking, the executive in charge of its BBM instant messaging business, has left the company. The stock was down 1.7 percent at C$10.73 on Tuesday.

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