Thursday, January 17, 2013 04:22 PM EST More momentum for Toronto Dow, S&P at 5-year highs The Toronto stock market was higher Thursday amid rising commodity prices and positive U.S. economic data. The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 65.91 points to end the day at 12,674.73 The Canadian dollar inched higher by 0.02 cents to 101.46 cents U.S. Sun Life Financial Inc. and the Malaysian state investment company are teaming up to purchase 98% of a Malaysian life insurance company. Sun Life and Khazanah Nasional are purchasing the CIMB Aviva Assurance life insurance company as well as CIMB Aviva Takaful for a total shared cost of $586 million. Sun Life shares gained 30 cents to $28.24. H&R Real Estate Investment Trust plans to acquire Primaris Retail REIT in a cash and stock deal valued at some $2.8 billion. Primaris owns 35 properties across Canada, including shopping centres in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario comprising some 14.7 million square feet. H&R units lost 51 cents to $23.28 while Primaris units added seven cents to $26.58. The base metals sector advanced as March copper on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose five cents to $3.65 U.S. a pound. First Quantum Minerals rose 13 cents to $21.04. The tech sector gained with CGI Group ahead 70 cents to $24.86. Telecoms were generally higher with BCE Inc. up nine cents to $42.75. Among energy issues, Canadian Natural Resources advanced 59 cents to $29.33. Prices were also supported by an attack on a natural gas plant deep in the Sahara desert in Algeria. Islamist militants are holding dozens of hostages. In the gold sector, Barrick Gold Corp. faded 11 cents to $33.58. On the economic beat, Statistics Canada revealed this morning that our investment in foreign securities improved to $7.8 billion in November, nearly all in U.S. instruments. The nation’s number-crunchers also said that foreign investment in Canadian securities eased to $5.6 billion, mainly federal government debt instruments. Nevertheless, the average monthly foreign investment in Canadian securities still stands well above that of Canadian investment in foreign securities since 2009. ON BAYSTREET The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 2.95 points to 1,233.15 All but one of the 14 Toronto subgroups were in the green on the day. Information technology soared 1.6%, while consumer discretionaries jumped 1%, and metals and mining issues were 0.8% to the good. The lone holdout was gold, fading 0.3%. ON WALLSTREET U.S. stocks gained Thursday as upbeat reports on the economy offset mixed corporate results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hiked 84.79 points to close at 13,596 The S&P 500 was positive 8.29 points to 1,480.92. The Nasdaq Composite moved up 18.46 points to 3,136. Both the Dow and broader S&P hit five-year highs. Bank of America shares fell after the company reported earnings that were slightly better than analysts had expected, although the results were impacted by various charges stemming from BofA's legal problems. Citigroup (reported profits that missed expectations, partly due to high legal costs amounting to $1.3 billion U.S. Shares of JPMorgan which reported earnings Wednesday were also lower. Meanwhile, Boeing's problems continued to deepen. Officials in Europe, India and Japan joined the Federal Aviation Administration after it grounded all Dreamliner planes. They cited worries about onboard lithium-ion batteries that have caught fire twice recently. Shares of BlackRock rose after the world's largest asset manager reported better-than-expected earnings. American Express, Capital One and Intel will report results after the closing bell. Shares of Herbalife fell after the vitamin supplement company said it would likely incur temporary expenses relate to "recent events." Activist investor Bill Ackman, who runs the $11-billion U.S. hedge fund Pershing Square, has called Herbalife a pyramid scheme and publicly said that he's betting $1 billion U.S. that its stock will fall to zero. On the other side is Dan Loeb, who runs Third Point. He's taken an 8% stake in Herbalife and says Ackman's claims are preposterous. CBS shares jumped after the company announced it would take its American outdoor division, which runs billboards, and convert it into a real estate investment trust. It's planning to outright sell its European and Asian outdoor operations. Mining giant Rio Tinto replaced its CEO after taking a $14-billion U.S. writedown on its aluminum and coal businesses. Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 3.2% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P's Capital IQ. Before the market opened, the government reported a five-year low for weekly jobless claims in the latest week. The pace of home building surged in December, as the market bounced back from the impact of Superstorm Sandy. The U.S. Census Bureau said housing starts increased 12.1% over the previous month. Applications for new building permits, considered a leading indicator, jumped 28.8% from last year's level. Prices on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note sank, raising yields to 1.88% from Wednesday’s 1.82%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices added $1.14 to $95.38 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices rallied $5.20 to $1,688.40 U.S. an ounce.