Strong resources, BCE boost Toronto stocks

Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:09pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index kicked off the week by surging higher on Monday, buoyed by firm oil prices and a jump by BCE Inc after Canada's top court backed the buyout of the telecom company.

However, late in the day sources said the banks funding the BCE buyout have asked for significant concessions and have considered altering or dropping the C$34.8 billion ($34.3 billion) deal.

BCE stock eased from its intraday highs to close up C$1.98, or 5.7 percent, at C$36.58 on a volume of nearly 30 million shares.

Resource issues underpinned the benchmark's rise, while the price of oil climbed as concerns over supply eclipsed Saudi Arabia's promise to raise output.

"The commodities are continuing to do well," said Paul Harris, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management in Toronto.

"I don't think they're going up as aggressively as they were previously, but I think they will continue to do well for many of the reasons people keep talking about, such as low supply and good demand."

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 111.15 points, or 0.76 percent, at 14,691.82 with six of its 10 main sectors on the upside.

The energy and materials sectors rose 2.8 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. Suncor Energy was up C$3.16, or 5.1 percent, at C$64.98, while in the materials group, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan gained C$6.24, or 2.7 percent, to   Continued...

<p>People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>