CANADA STOCKS-Potash stocks help drive TSX higher

Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:40pm 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 Cameron French
 TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market
index ended higher on Friday, extending its recent surge, paced
by rising shares of potash miners.
 Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote), one of the largest resource stocks on
the index, shot 6.9 percent higher to C$128.03 after the
world's largest fertilizer maker raised its first-quarter
earnings forecast, citing a sharp rebound in demand for potash
-- a key crop nutrient. [ID:nN11254666]
 Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote), another potash producer, gained 7.5
percent to C$73.42 after the company said it was abandoning its
$5.4 billion takeover offer for U.S. rival CF Industries
(CF.N: Quote), ending a takeover attempt that had dragged on for more
than a year.
 The two stocks helped lead the TSX index's materials sector
up 1 percent. Half of the 10 TSX subgroups finished the session
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's key S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE rose 34.12 points, or 0.28 percent, to finish at
12,013.82, its highest close in 18 months and its first close
above the 12,000 level in the same period.
 The index has risen 8 percent since the beginning of the
month, and while the pace of the gains has eased this week, the
market has resisted the urge to retrench.
 This suggests a level of investor comfort that could lead
to further gains, said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global
Securities in Vancouver.
 "The economic numbers have certainly been very positive,
but the key thing the market was really spooked about was this
whole idea of cascading sovereign risk, starting in Greece," he
 "Those fears have really abated."
  ($1=$1.02 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)