UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks higher as BCE, golds lend a hand

Wed Feb 6, 2008 11:01am EST
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(Updates with analyst)

By Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO Feb 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was higher but off early peaks on Wednesday as rosy earnings from BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote) and bullish gold prices took the focus off worries over a recession.

Gold producers, including global heavyweights Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) and Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote), led the upside as the price of spot gold rose more than $18 to above $904 an ounce.

BCE, Canada's biggest telecoms company, which is poised to be taken private, was up 78 Canadian cents at C$35.33 after it reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and slightly higher revenue. For details, see: [nN06299216]

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 63.83 points, or 0.5 percent, at 12,995.78, picking up some of the pieces from its 2.5 percent drop on Tuesday.

Earnings "have helped to put a floor under the market after the sharp fall yesterday, and pretty steep losses in Asia overnight," said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.

The Toronto index was up more than 135 points immediately after trading began.

But key financial and energy stocks, along with the utilities and health care sectors, skidded into the red after a positive start to the session.   Continued...