CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher on strength in materials
* Higher copper, steady gold help materials lead TSX higher
* TSX ends up 55.60 points at 12,657.83
* Nine of 10 main groups higher; info tech sags (Adds details)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose on Wednesday for the first time in five sessions, notching broad gains as higher prices for some commodities helped strengthen the hefty materials sector.
Copper recovered from near two month lows, supported by a softer U.S. dollar, while gold prices stabilized following recent sharp moves lower. [MET/L] [GOL/]
The materials sector, home to mining and fertilizer companies, rose 0.9 percent. Barrick Gold ABX.TO climbed 0.9 percent to C$50.43 and Kinross Gold K.TO was up 0.4 percent at C$17.87.
The sector was also supported by fresh acquisition activity. Ventana Gold VEN.TO, a junior miner in the vanguard of an exploration rush in Colombia, has fielded a buyout offer from its top shareholder that values the company at about C$1.5 billion. [ID:nN17193791]
Ventana, the most heavily traded stock on the market, soared 39 percent to C$13.90.
Teck Resources TCKb.TO rose 1.1 percent to C$48.69 as the diversified miner said it will raise its dividend by 50 percent, signaling its confidence that rising commodity prices will enable it to keep generating cash. [ID:nN17188802]
Potash Corp POT.TO climbed 0.7 percent to C$139.15 after the fertilizer maker announced plans for a stock buyback worth up to $2 billion. [ID:nN16156346]
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the day up 55.60 points, or 0.44 percent, at 12,657.83. Nine of the main index's groups were higher, while the information technology sector shed 1.2 percent.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 2.51 points higher, or 0.4 percent, at 725.65.
"Markets very rarely will go up or down for more than 4 or 5 days," said Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy.
The market's recent move lower had been largely led by resources and financials. Resource stocks faltered on fears that China would increase interest rates to fight inflation, while euro zone debt woes weighed on the broader market. [ID:nSGE6AG08D]
Financials were up 0.4 percent with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO higher by 1.6 percent at C$76.65 and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO up 0.7 percent at C$53.00.
"Even though there are still some concerns about things like European debt and the situation in Ireland and the rest of it, there's perhaps a feeling that the Canadian banks are not very exposed to the specific problems in Europe and they're more than well enough capitalized," said Graham.
Ireland has agreed to work with a European Union-IMF mission on urgent steps to shore up its shattered banking sector. A team from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank will travel to Ireland on Thursday to examine what measures may be needed if Dublin decides to seek aid. [ID:nLDE6AG004]
Elsewhere in company news, two of Canada's largest grocers, Loblaw Cos L.TO and Metro Inc MRUa.TO, posted higher quarterly profits on Wednesday but same-store sales fell at both supermarket chains. [ID:nN17192024]
Loblaw climbed 0.3 percent to C$42.26, while Metro fell 0.5 percent to C$46.00.
A mix of names topped the list of decliners including BlackBerry maker Research in Motion RIM.TO, down 0.5 percent at C$57.28.
($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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