CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 4-week high, Equinox surges on bid

Mon Apr 4, 2011 5:16pm EDT
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 * TSX ends session up 0.62 pct at 14,218.35
 * Equinox up 32.22 pct on Chinese takeover bid
 * Seven sectors advance, led by 2.08 pct rise in materials
 (Adds details, analysts' comments)
 By John McCrank
 TORONTO, April 4 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
rose to a four-week high on Monday as a new wave of takeover
bids boosted mining shares and rising oil prices benefited
energy producers.
 Shares of Equinox Minerals EQN.TO surged 32.22 percent to
C$7.55 after Minmetals Resources (1208.HK: Quote), China's biggest
metals trading company, made a surprise C$6.3 billion offer to
buy the company for its copper assets. [ID:nL3E7F30DI]
 New Gold (NGD.TO: Quote) fell 3.82 percent to C$10.83 after the
mid-sized gold miner said it will acquire gold exploration
company Richfield Ventures RVC.V in a friendly all-stock deal
valued at C$550 million. [ID:nN04239951]
 "Merger fever is in the air," said Elvis Picardo, analyst
and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. The takeover
offers for Canadian mining companies added to other deals in
the works offshore and spurred hopes for an expanding merger
and acquisition market this year.
[ID:nN01283917] [MRG] [MKTS/GLOB]
 The mining-heavy materials group rose 2.08 percent, with
First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote) gaining 5.83 percent to
C$137.45, while Teck Resources TCKb.TO rose 7.51 percent to
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE ended up 88.20 points, or 0.62 percent, at 14,218.35,
rising for a fifth-straight session. It was the highest close
since March 4.
 Seven of the index's 10 main groups were higher, led by the
materials and energy groups, which together make up around 50
percent of the total index.
 Energy issues rose 0.48 percent, with Imperial Oil gaining
1.15 percent to C$C$51.23, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) up 0.96
percent at C$44.03.
 Oil prices rose to their highest point since 2008, with
Brent crude above $121 a barrel. U.S. crude rose above $108 as
unrest in the Middle East and North Africa kept the focus on
oil supplies. [O/R]
 An improving macroeconomic backdrop for global growth also
helped sentiment, particularly after Friday's healthy U.S. jobs
data, which sent copper and other commodities higher. [MET/L]
 Not long ago, market players were concerned that rising oil
prices might stunt the economic recovery, but those concerns
have faded, said John Ing, president of Maison Placements
Canada in Toronto.
 "Whenever there are Middle East problems ... the supply
disruptions more than offset any so-called slowdown fears," he
 In other market news, shares of Westport Innovations Inc
 WPT.TO, which develops technology and products to allow
diesel engines to run on natural gas, rose 7.85 percent to a
new high of C$25.01 on hopes that rich, new subsidies could be
in the offing for natural gas-powered vehicles in the United
 And TMX Group Inc (X.TO: Quote), owner of the Toronto Stock
Exchange, said it will put forward a formal submission to
Canadian regulators in "coming weeks" regarding its proposed
takeover by London Stock Exchange (LSE.L: Quote). [ID:nN04266784]
 TMX group rose 0.54 percent to C$39.29.
 ($1=$0.97 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter