CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on commodities, near three-year high

Fri Mar 4, 2011 11:40am EST
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   * TSX up 25.81 points, or 0.18 pct, to 14,239.78
 * Five of the 10 main groups higher
 * Oil, gold prices firm
 * Inmet Mining shares fall more than 3 percent
 (Updates throughout)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, March 4 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
rose to 32-month highs on Friday as violent unrest in Libya
continued to drive commodity prices higher, providing support
for resource stocks.
 Imperial Oil IMO.TO rose 1.45 percent to C$51.88 while
Suncor Energy SU.TO was up 0.86 percent at C$45.89. The
overall group gained 0.59 percent.
 Oil prices advanced on Friday, with Brent crude rising
above $115 a barrel and U.S. crude climbing above $103 as
Libyan security forces began a violent crackdown on protesters
and clashed with rebel fighters.
 Investors and traders have been watching the widespread
unrest in North Africa and the Middle East for any signs that
Saudi Arabia, the leading OPEC oil producer, could be affected.
 "I think the same factors are still in play," said Rick
Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH
Investments, noting the continuing influence of geopolitical
unrest on commodity prices and resource stocks.
 At midmorning, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX
composite index .GSPTSE climbed 25.81 points, or 0.18
percent, to 14,239.78. It touched a session high of 14,280.62,
its highest level since July, 2008.
 Five of the 10 main sectors advanced, including the
influential materials group, home to miners. Shares in the
sector gained 0.75 percent, helped by firmer gold prices.
 Goldcorp G.TO rose 1.84 percent to C$48.69, while Barrick
Gold ABX.TO was up 1.25 percent at C$51.74.
 Bullion firmed to nearly $1,425 an ounce, supported by
expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve would hold off on
monetary tightening after the results of U.S. jobs data.
 Hiring in the United States grew more than in any month
since last May, but still failed to move markets dramatically
as the results were largely in line with forecasts.
[ID:nOAT004757] [STXNEWS/US]
 In individual company news, Inmet Mining IMN.TO slipped
3.05 percent to C$67.01 after Panama said it planned to repeal
a recent foreign-investment law, which could block the miner's
plans to partner with Singapore's state investor Temasek and
Korea Resources Corp on a $4.3 billion copper-gold project.
 Going forward, Hutcheon said the market could soon take a
pause from its recent extended rise into record territory.
 "We're running out of earnings season now -- the Canadian
banks pretty well marked the end of that," said Hutcheon,
adding that next week's Canadian jobs data is not expected to
be a huge market mover unless it surprises on the negative
 "(The end of earnings season) means we go into a bit of a
quiet period -- that could take the edge of some of the upside
momentum in the market. I don't think the market's in any
serious danger of a big slide or anything, but it could go
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Editing by Rob Wilson)