* TSX up 34.50 points at 13,736.83
* Four of 10 main groups rise, led by materials (Updates with details, comments)
By John McCrank
TORONTO, April 19 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended a three-day slide on Tuesday as high commodity prices -- including record gold prices -- helped spur a rally among miners, pulling the index from its lowest point in a month.
The index’s mining-heavy materials sector advanced 1.39 percent as gold topped $1,500 an ounce and silver hit a 31-year high above $43 an ounce. Precious metals prices rose as a weak greenback, crude oil gains and worries about sovereign debt problems in Europe encouraged safe-haven buying. [ID:nLDE73I0RF] [ID:nL3E7FI1AA] [GOL/]
Mining shares have been languishing as of late as investors question whether or not the recent rally in commodities is sustainable.
“The gold group is still lagging the price of gold, but that could change if gold continues to rally,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
Gold miner Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) rose 4.44 percent to C$63.95, Silver Wheaton SLW.TO rose 2.24 percent to C$41.00, and First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) rose 3.16 percent to C$120.49.
Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO jumped 5.86 percent to C$51.62 after the company posted earnings late on Monday that more than doubled those reported a year earlier and beat expectations. [ID:nN19294036] [ID:nN18242433]
Also in the materials group, Potash Corp (POT.TO) was up 2.99 percent at C$54.84. Canpotex, the overseas potash marketing arm of Potash Corp, Mosaic (MOS.N) and Agrium (AGU.TO), said it will develop a railcar maintenance facility in Saskatchewan to help boost the amount of potash it can transport. [ID:nN19294544]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 34.50 points, or 0.25 percent, at 13,736.83. Just four of its 10 main groups were higher.
Trading was light ahead of the Easter long weekend and Passover, so moves may have been exaggerated, said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.
“In the absence of specific moves I wouldn’t read a lot into moves in stocks until we’re well through this period and into next week,” he said.
The heavyweight financials and energy sectors were nearly flat.
The technology group was down 0.47 percent, dragged lower by Research In Motion RIM.TO, which one of the biggest decliners on the day, off 3.77 percent at C$50.85. The maker of the BlackBerry launched its PlayBook on Tuesday in hopes of winning customers away from Apple’s dominant iPad tablet computer, but lineups of buyers were scarce. [ID:nN19146402]
“It’s been a little bit of a disappointment as far as the launch is concerned,” Picardo said.
He said that with earnings season starting, there might be more action on the TSX next week.
“Investors seem to be in a pretty unforgiving mood as far as earnings are concerned, so any company that disappoints is going to be cut down quite sharply.” ($1=$0.96 Canadian) (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway)