CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises as Mideast worry lifts commodities

Tue Mar 1, 2011 10:57am EST
 
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   * TSX up 37.19 points, or 0.26 percent, at 14,173.6
 * Index at almost three-year high
 * Six of the index's 10 main groups firmer
 (Updates with details, comments)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, March 1 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
rose to its highest level in almost three years on Tuesday
morning as firming commodity prices pushed up its resource
sectors.
 With gold prices inching back toward recent highs on
safe-haven buying spurred by the unrest in North Africa and the
Middle East, miner Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) was up 3 percent at C$47.80,
while Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) rose 1.89 percent to C$52.25. The
index's materials group, home to gold miners, was up 0.85
percent. [GOL/]
 The Middle East tension also lifted oil prices, giving
Toronto's energy shares a boost. Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) led
blue-chip gainers with a 1.12 percent rise to C$46.17. Imperial
Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) climbed 1.13 percent to C$51.05. The energy group,
which makes up roughly a quarter of the index, was up 0.26
percent.
 Brent crude oil futures were above $113 a barrel after an
Egyptian newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia had sent tanks to
neighboring Bahrain in an attempt to quell protests. A Saudi
official denied the report. [ID:nLDE7201OZ] [O/R]
 At 10:24 (1524 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index .GSPTSE was up 37.19 points, or 0.26 percent,
at 14,173.69, its best showing since July 2008. Six of the
TSX's 10 main groups were higher.
 "There are increased tensions again out in the Middle East.
There were jitters about some Saudi unrest...Gold is testing
its recent high," said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global
Canada.
 "So all these sectors explain why we're outperforming the
U.S. markets."
 The index's financial group was down 0.1 percent, reversing
earlier gains. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote), which posted an 18
percent profit rise on Tuesday, was up 0.42 percent at C$62.22.
[ID:nL3E7E11E7]
 The market was monitoring congressional testimony from U.S.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday for any
surprise comments. [ID:nLDE72024L]
 "The market is expecting him to remain dovish (on interest
rates). It's really priced in, but it could be a market mover
(if Bernanke surprises)," Campeau said.
 The market had expected the Bank of Canada's announcement
on Tuesday that it would leave interest rates unchanged and was
unmoved by it. [ID:nN01279267] [CA/POLL]
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Editing by Peter Galloway)