* TSX up 49.71 points, or 0.37 percent, at 13,441.06
* Four of the 10 main groups end higher (Updates with details, comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, May 17 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished higher on Tuesday, extending Monday’s gains, lifted by strength in mining and financial issues.
The overall materials sector was up 0.91 percent, while the mining subgroup was ahead 1.28 percent. Fertilizer giant Potash Corp (POT.TO) led the way with a 2.65 percent rise to C$52.31, helped by a 3 percent jump in U.S. wheat and corn futures, as harsh weather slowed planting and damaged crops. [ID:nLDE74G1E3]
Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO jumped 3.43 percent to C$46.74, despite a retreat by copper prices. Copper closed lower for the first time in four sessions, weighed down by a firmer greenback and disappointing economic data. [MET/L] [ID:nLDE74G0E1]
“We’ve seen in the last few weeks quite a bit of volatility in the commodities space,” said Youssef Zohny, a portfolio manager with Van Arbor Asset Management.
“The fact that commodity prices are consolidating and stabilizing a bit is definitely putting more confidence in equities and you’re starting to see some investors pick up some shares after last week’s correction.”
The influential financial sector saw a 0.65 percent gain, with all six big banks finishing higher. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) led the way with a 1.34 percent rise to C$83.34, while Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was up 0.95 percent at C$58.16.
“We’re just getting a little bit of sector rotation,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.
“We’re just seeing some money go out of (precious metals) and going into the financials and others.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 49.71 points, or 0.37 percent, at 13,441.06, but only four of its 10 main groups were higher. The index, which had slid for the previous three weeks, extended Monday’s modest 0.11 percent gain.
“We’ve seen a fairly decent correction, we got some bargain hunters coming into the market,” said Zohny.
Telecoms and tech issues were the only other gainers, rising 1 percent and 0.06 percent respectively.
Research In Motion RIM.TO was ahead 1.87 percent at C$42.50. Prior to Tuesday’s rise, the BlackBerry maker had seen its shares tumble nearly 30 percent this year.
“That stock’s been heavily oversold for the last few days and weeks and months. So I think some people are trying to do some bottom-fishing on it,” said Latimer.
Energy stocks, which gyrated widely between positive and negative territory earlier in the session, finished down 0.05 percent. The swings mirrored choppy oil prices, as a batch of disappointing data fueled worries about the economy. [O/R] [ID:nN17138040]
Penn West Petroleum PWT.TO was off 0.85 percent at C$27.94 while Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) rose 0.76 percent to C$45.22.
Energy companies could remain in focus as wildfires rage through northern Alberta and could cut Canadian oil production further over the next few days. [ID:nN1724114]
In individual company news, TMX Group (X.TO) shares were off 1.54 percent at C$43.37 after rising more than 5 percent in the previous session.
Investors continued to debate possible scenarios surrounding the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, following news that some of Canada’s biggest banks and pension funds had challenged London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) with a rival takeover proposal. [ID:nLDE74G1L7] [ID:nN17142333]
AbitibiBowater ABH.TO shares slumped 5.66 percent to C$24.00 after the newsprint maker posted disappointing first-quarter profit. [ID:nL4E7GH1YD]
Transforce TFI.TO shares rose 2.6 percent to C$15.40 after the trucking firm said higher freight shipping rates would boost profits this year. [ID:nL4E7GH2NO]