October 24, 2014 / 11:39 AM / 3 years ago

TSX posts biggest weekly gain in a year as Agrium surges

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index recorded its biggest weekly gain in more than a year on Friday, led by a jump in shares of Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) after an activist investor revealed early in the day it has taken a stake in the company.

The Agrium advance helped the market overcome a drop in energy shares on lower oil prices. It also shook off news that a doctor had tested positive for the Ebola virus in New York City.

Agrium climbed 7.6 percent to C$104.33 after hedge fund ValueAct Capital disclosed it had bought a 5.7 percent stake in the fertilizer maker.

The Toronto equity market’s benchmark index has rebounded about 6.6 percent since reaching an eight-month low last week. Investors are now looking ahead to what may come out of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting next week.

“We’re seeing a continuation of the bargain-hunting we’ve experienced over the past few days,” said Youssef Zohny, portfolio manager at StennerZohny Investment Partners of Richardson GMP Ltd, which manages about C$28.3 billion in assets.

“The markets are taking a more positive view going into next week,” he said, adding that Canadian valuations were “on the high side of fair value”.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 56.99 points, or 0.39 percent, at 14,543.82. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Shares of energy producers shed 1.3 percent, with oil prices dropping in choppy trade. Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) gave back 0.3 percent to C$38.87, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) fell 1.5 percent to C$38.94.

Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, added 0.3 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) advanced 0.5 percent to C$67.99, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) climbed 0.3 percent to C$81.51.

Editing by Peter Galloway

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