CANADA STOCKS-Potash Corp, Agrium help push TSX higher

Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:03am EST
 
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 * TSX up 27.65 points, or 0.23 percent, at 12,007.35
 * Potash Corp jumps 5.5 pct after raising forecast
 * Canada jobs data boosts investor sentiment
 (Adds details, quote)
 By Jennifer Kwan
 TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market
index rose on Friday morning as materials issues climbed on
steady base metals prices, while shares of Potash Corp of
Saskatchewan POT.TO jumped after it raised its earnings
forecast.
 Potash shot 5.5 percent higher to C$126.29 after the
world's largest fertilizer maker raised its first-quarter
forecast on Thursday, citing a sharp rebound in demand for
potash -- a key crop nutrient. [ID:nN11254666]
 The materials group, home to miners and fertilizer
companies, gained nearly 1 percent, with Agrium Inc AGU.TO up
6.8 percent at C$72.94. Agrium said it is abandoning its $5.4
billion bid for U.S. rival CF Industries CF.N, ending a
drawn-out takeover battle.[ID:nN11199837]
 The rise in Potash and Agrium shares helped the Toronto
market outperform other markets around the world in early trade
on Friday, said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in
Montreal.
 Focus will be on whether the TSX index has enough momentum
to push through the year high of 12,070.74 reached in January,
he said.
 "We're right at key technical resistance. We're basically
testing the year high," he said.
 At 10:39 a.m. (1539 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 27.65 points, or 0.23
percent, at 12,007.35.
 The oil and gas group added 0.2 percent as oil held at
around $82.40 a barrel, supported by a softer U.S. dollar and
bullish U.S. retail sales data. [O/R] Canadian Natural
Resources CNQ.TO rose 0.3 percent to C$75.38.
 Campeau said investors were somewhat reassured by data that
showed Canada's unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent in
February from 8.3 percent in January as 20,900 more people
found work in the month. [ID:nN12253705]
 Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast net job growth
of 20,000 jobs in February and an 8.3 percent unemployment
rate. ECONCA
 ($1=$1.02 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)