*TSX up 56.65 points at 13,315.22
*Nine of 10 sectors stronger (Updates with details, comments)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index pushed higher in a broad rally on Monday morning, led by gains among gold miners and financial issues.
A rise in bullion prices pulled gold miners up 0.6 percent, with Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) advancing 1.3 percent to C$46.91 and Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) gaining 1.1 percent to C$68.42. Gold prices edged up on bargain-hunting after three weeks of losses, but a more optimistic view of global growth still limited safe-haven buying. [GOL/]
“We may see investors getting back in ... there’s continuing concern that high energy prices and high production costs are meaning that while the price of gold can be high, the (mining) companies aren’t necessarily doing as well as people would expect,” said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones. “With energy prices pulling back a bit, people may be thinking that we’ll actually see a better spread, a better margin with the gold that is being produced.”
Financials were also firmer, up 0.3 percent. Among the big banks, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) rose 0.8 percent to C$59.24, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) also added 0.8 percent to C$75.53.
Warne said a recent raft of more bullish economic data was supporting financial shares, including much stronger than expected domestic retail sales figures released last week.
“There’s less concern about the overall economy ... financials are just generally benefiting from a greater comfort that there are fewer problems that are likely to be uncovered in the next few months.”
At 10:11 a.m. (1511 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 56.65 points, or 0.4 percent, at 13,315.22. Nine of the index’s 10 sectors were higher. The energy group slipped 0.4 percent as U.S. crude oil futures extended losses. [O/R]
Base metal miners were down 0.2 percent, but First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) rose 1.1 percent to C$112.98 following a report that the company plans to start developing a new copper mine in northwestern Zambia. [ID:nLDE70L03D]
Potash Corp (POT.TO), the world’s largest fertilizer maker and one of the index’s most heavily weighted stocks, jumped almost 2 percent to C$162.92.
“The continuing worry is that we’ll see higher food prices, largely due to weather and shortages, but, of course, with the expectation that higher food prices drive more planting, that’s good news for Potash and other fertilizer stocks as that suggests higher demand for their product,” Warne added.
Baffinland Iron Mines BIM.TO fell 0.7 percent to C$1.50 as the likelihood of a competing takeover bid for the company and the vast Arctic iron ore deposit it owns diminished. Baffinland shareholders have until midnight to tender to a C$590 million offer led by world No. 1 steelmaker ArcelorMittal. [ID:nN21178661]
($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)