UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks hang on to gains with help of RIM

Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:59am EST
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(Updates numbers, adds analyst comment)

By Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO Feb 21 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was modestly higher midway through Thursday's session, as bullish materials issues and soaring Research In Motion RIM.TO shares offset a bearish energy sector.

Gold miners rose strongly as investors applauded results from Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote), which also announced a $1.7 billion deal with a subsidiary of Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote) to buy its stake in their Cortez joint venture in Nevada, giving Barrick full ownership.

The TSX was well off earlier highs, however, as softer crude and natural gas futures sapped the shares of energy companies.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 21.42 points, or 0.2 percent, at 13,573.11, with the materials sector up 1.8 percent and the energy sector down 1 percent. The index was up as much as 118 points immediately after the opening bell.

RIM was the biggest weighted gainer by far, up C$9.30, or 0.4 percent, at C$108.34 after the BlackBerry maker raised its fourth-quarter subscriber outlook and reconfirmed its profit forecast. For details, see: [nN21246446]

"A lot of people saw the drop in RIM stock over the last month or so as an opportunity to get in, and this (outlook) gave them the indication that ... the BlackBerry's attractiveness continues," said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

The gold subsector rose 1.9 percent. Barrick, the world's biggest producer, jumped C$1.27 to C$52.09, while Goldcorp, Canada's second-biggest producer, added C$1.62 to C$41.14. For details, see: [nN21448037] and [nN20372231]   Continued...