Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks rose, closing at the highest level in more than 17 months, as European finance ministers met for the first time this year to discuss a solution to the region’s debt crisis.
Bank of Nova Scotia and Royal Bank of Canada gained at least 0.4 percent. Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones, jumped 11 percent after Die Welt reported Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said in an interview he’s still considering a sale of hardware production. Golden Predator Corp. surged 17 percent after announcing on Jan. 18 it plans to transition to a royalty mining company. Home- improvement retailer Rona Inc. added 3.1 percent after naming a new executive chairman.
The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 68.56 points, or 0.5 percent, to 12,794.25 in Toronto, the highest close since August 2011. The benchmark gauge has gained 2.9 percent this year. Markets in New York were closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“When there were concerns about Europe a year ago markets took a tumble, now maybe investors are looking at Europe as not as important,” David Cockfield, managing director and fund manager with Northland Wealth Management, said from Toronto. His firm manages about C$200 million ($201 million). “There’s not a lot for the market to get upset about. Markets are somewhat relaxed and people who were on the sidelines are edging back in.”
Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, stepped down as head of the group of euro-area finance ministers as the policy makers met in Brussels today. Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Netherlands assumes the informal, unpaid post. The ministers are discussing how and when the 500 billion-euro ($666 billion) European Stability Mechanism can bypass governments and provide direct help to banks.
Scotiabank rose 0.8 percent to C$58.34 and Royal Bank added 0.4 percent to C$61.96 as bank stocks contributed most to gains in the S&P/TSX. Trading volume on the S&P/TSX was 47 percent lower than the 30-day average.
RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, rose 11 percent to C$17.41 after Heins, speaking to the German Die Welt newspaper, said the company’s strategic review is continuing. Pressure to sell off assets has diminished because of high cash reserves, and other options include licensing of RIM’s software, Heins said.
Rona, based in Boucherville, Quebec, gained 3.1 percent to C$11.86, the highest close since September.
Rona, with the backing of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec and Invesco Canada Ltd., its two biggest shareholders, has appointed Robert Chevrier as the company’s new executive chairman. Robert Pare has resigned the post and will continue as a board member. Four new directors, including Bernard Dorval, former group head of insurance at Toronto-Dominion Bank, also immediately join the board.
Golden Predator, which is exploring for gold in the Yukon Territory’s Tintina gold belt, soared 17 percent to 39 Canadian cents after announcing on Jan. 18 it will change the company’s name to Gold Bullion Royalty Corp., focused on royalty creation through its 34 existing projects. The company will also spin off its Golden Predator Canada Corp. unit to shareholders through a dividend or other plan, it said in a statement.
Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., a Toronto-based wealth- management company, advanced 5.9 percent to C$16.65 after declaring a special semi-annual dividend of 65 Canadian cents a share based on C$34 million of performance fees earned in the six months ended Dec. 31.
Nevsun Resources Ltd., operator of a mine in Eritrea, slumped 8.7 percent to C$4.22 after about 200 Eritrean soldiers mutinied and stormed a Ministry of Information building in the capital of Asmara, Agence France-Presse reported. Nevsun’s Bisha mine is operating normally, an external consultant for the company said today by e-mail.
--Editors: Jacqueline Thorpe, Paul Badertscher