CANADA STOCKS-TSX firms as China growth supports resources

Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:03pm EDT
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* TSX up 0.32 percent at 10,247.86

* Materials up 0.75 percent

* Energy group falls 0.02 pct on Nexen results, lower oil (Adds details, quote)

By Nina Lex

TORONTO, July 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was slightly higher late on Thursday morning as China's strong economic growth in the second quarter boosted the resource-heavy market and offset the drag of lower oil prices on energy shares.

The mining-heavy materials sector led the index's gain, up 0.75 percent. In the sector, fertilizer producer Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote) was the index's biggest heavyweight gainer, up 4.2 percent at C$102.10, after Athabasca Potash Inc API.TO, said on Thursday it is exploring a possible sale of all or part of the company. [ID:nBNG199332] Potash Corp was considered a possible buyer.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) was up 0.58 percent at C$37.91, and Iamgold (IMG.TO: Quote) rose 0.54 percent to C$11.23 as gold prices steadied.

Surprisingly strong growth in China in the second quarter made it the best-performing major economy and reinforced hopes it may lead the world out of its deepest recession in 80 years. [ID:nSP537580]

"Particularly with China's growth rate this morning coming out at 7.9 percent, that confirms the expectation that there will be a stronger demand for commodities in the next two months," said Kate Warne, market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.   Continued...