UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rise on TransAlta bid, bank results

Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:18am EDT
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TORONTO, July 21 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index climbed 1 percent at the open on Monday before giving back some gains, as a takeover bid for TransAlta Corp (TA.TO: Quote) and stronger-than-expected results from Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote) soothed worries over the global credit crunch.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 88.72 points, or 0.7 percent, at 13,604.68 after climbing as high as 13,687.13 near the start.

Power generator TransAlta jumped 16.9 percent to C$37.70 after U.S.-based LS Power Equity Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners said on Monday that they would buy all the outstanding shares of TransAlta in an all-cash bid.

The offer represents a 21-percent premium to TransAlta's closing price on Friday of C$32.25.

TransAlta's impressive ascent propelled the utilities sector up 5.2 percent.

"This shows that there is some liquidity for deals like that to be done," said Steve Ibel, an institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Overall, five of the TSX index's 10 main groups were higher. The heavily weighted financial group was up 0.5 percent, the resource-heavy materials group added 0.7 percent and the information technology group gained 1.2 percent.

Among the companies showing leadership were Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote), which added C$3.29 to C$214.45 and Research In Motion RIM.TO, which was up C$2.19 at C$115.94.   Continued...