* TSX ends 67.75 points, or 0.53 percent, at 12,857.70
* Buyers step in after index touches lowest since Nov
* Eight of the TSX’s main groups end higher
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, June 20 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index closed higher on Monday after briefly hitting its lowest level since November, as investors stepped in to pick up beaten down financial and materials shares.
The market rose even as concerns remained about Greece’s debt crisis. After two days of crisis talks, euro zone finance ministers effectively issued an ultimatum, giving Greece two weeks to approve stricter austerity measures in exchange for emergency loans. [ID:nLDE75I0FM]
“People have begun to view the Greece bailout as something that will take time but is likely to occur,” said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri. “Whereas last week it seemed that in fact there may actually be more problems getting the deal done.”
Potash Corp (POT.TO) was the most influential gainer on the index, climbing more than 2 percent to C$50.62.
The world’s biggest fertilizer producer gained after fellow potash miner Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) raised its earnings outlook, citing very strong retail sales and increasing nutrient pricing. [ID:nN1E75J0AP]
Agrium also made the top 10 advancers, as its shares jumped more than 4 percent at C$81.34.
Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) topped the financials sector, rising 2.5 percent to C$15.95, following recent heavy selling and an analyst upgrade on Monday.
Royal Bank of Canada contributed to the sector’s gains, rising 0.39 percent to C$54.54 after PNC Financial Services Group Inc confirmed reports that it plans to buy the U.S. retail sales division of Canada’s largest bank. [ID:nL3E7HK1J3]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE unofficially closed up 67.75 points, or 0.53 percent, at 12,857.70. The index has fallen nearly every session this month.
“When you have 12 of 14 days when the markets are down, you are going to get some bounces here, and this is a bounce,” said Irwin Michael, a portfolio manager with ABC Funds.
“To make it sustainable we have to see some concrete developments out there to give people more confidence to dip their feet in the market.”
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO once again weighed on the index more than any other company, falling 6.7 percent to C$25.41 as analysts continued to downgrade the stock on last week’s disappointing results. [ID:nWNAB5926]
Sino-Forest Corp TRE.TO, down 14.4 percent to C$2.73, also dragged on the broader market. The Chinese forestry company said on Monday that a newspaper report on its timber assets was an “incorrect portrayal” of its business that failed to account for the complexity of operating in China. [ID:nN1E75J0AK] (With additional reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)