CANADA STOCKS-TSX posts modest gain on golds, Potash

Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:47pm EST
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*TSX climbs 62.38 points

*Gold-mining shares jump 3.39 percent

*Potash Corp rises 4.92 percent (Adds details, comments, official closing data)

By Lynne Olver

TORONTO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index eked out a modest gain on Tuesday, led by gold-mining stocks and fertilizer producer Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote), but pre-Christmas trading was light and stuck to a narrow range.

Six of 10 TSX groups ended higher, after the index swung between positive and negative territory. The mining-dominated materials group gained 3.14 percent and the heavyweight energy group rose 1.27 percent despite lower prices for gold and oil futures contracts.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 62.38 points, or 0.76 percent, to close at 8,311.91.

"Some of the strength today seems to be on the commodity side, I think it may be people just bargain-hunting near yearend or redeploying some of the funds from tax-loss selling," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co Investment Cousel.

Tax-loss selling, in which investors realize losses on securities to offset capital gains taxes, must settle before the last business day of the calendar year, making Wednesday the last day for such sales to count.   Continued...