CANADA STOCKS-TSX rallies to 2-wk high as commodity prices rise
* TSX closes up 129.86 points, or 1.04 pct, at 12,634.71
* Materials up 1.9 pct, buoyed by gold and copper
* U.S. FOMC minutes boost sentiment (Updates with further details)
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rallied for a fourth straight day on Tuesday, reaching its strongest point in nearly two weeks, as rising commodity prices propelled resource-based shares higher.
The heavyweight materials sector, which includes mining shares, added 1.9 percent as gold prices surged more than 2 percent and copper rallied to its highest in almost a month on Chile supply concerns. [GOL/][MET/L]
Energy issues added 1.2 percent as Brent crude rose for a sixth straight session to a four-week high. [O/R]
"The commodities seem to have righted themselves from their anxiety over the economic slowdown potential," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.
The index added to early gains after minutes from the last U.S. Federal Reserve rate-setting meeting showed the central bank had considered a range of actions to help a struggling economy. [ID:nW1E7IR01J]
"There's increasing talk of some more stimulus," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
"The market's interpreting that to mean QE3 in some shape or form, and you're seeing gold take off on the back of that, and the oil producers are going along for the ride as well."
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote), up 1.6 percent at C$49.76, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), up 1.5 percent at C$31.02, were among the index's heaviest gainers.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 129.86 points, or 1.04 percent, at 12,634.71. It touched a session high of 12,664.72, its strongest since Aug. 17. Seven of the 10 main groups were higher.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) helped boost the financial sector, which rose 0.7 percent, after it reported a quarterly profit rise of nearly 22 percent on Tuesday. The Canadian bank was the most influential gainer on the index, adding 2.2 percent to C$53.50. [nN1E77T07J]
"Other than (Royal Bank of Canada) that is off a little bit, the banks obviously responded reasonably well to the Scotia earnings," added Hand. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) fell 0.5 percent to C$48.93, and was the index's heaviest decliner.
Research in Motion RIM.TO was a top advancer, jumping 6.4 percent to C$31.91. The BlackBerry maker's stock also made strong gains on Monday and Friday.
"It's all on the heels of Google/Motorola and what that means for the changing landscape," said Colin Gillis, a tech analyst at BGC Partners in New York. "There's also a little bit of what I consider excess patent fever going on."
On the downside, Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc (ATDb.TO: Quote), dragged on the index, falling 4.1 percent to C$28.50. Canada's top convenience store operator posted a 10 percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday but missed market estimates due to higher motor fuel prices and intense competition. [N1E77T050]
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO: Quote) was another top decliner, falling 0.4 percent to C$43.35 after announcing a friendly C$76 million ($77.6 million) takeover offer for Canadian cold and flu medicine maker Afexa Life Sciences FXA.TO on Tuesday. [N1E77T0CR] (With additional reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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