UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks get big lift from Potash, resources

Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:46pm EST
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(Updates with official numbers, adds details)

TORONTO Jan 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was strongly higher on Thursday, pulled up by gains by Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO and robust resource issues amid firm commodity prices.

The index also reaped continued benefits from interest rate cuts in the United States and Canada earlier in the week, while investors were hopeful of another U.S. rate cut next week.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO climbed C$8.05, or 6.6 percent, to C$129.93 after the world's largest fertilizer producer doubled its fourth-quarter profit and gave a bright forecast for 2008.

The materials sector led the way up, gaining 4.7 percent, and the energy group rose 3.1 percent as oil climbed due to a tentative deal on a U.S. economic stimulus package, which helped ease recession fears.

Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was up C$2.29, or 3.8 percent, at C$63.26, and Suncor Energy SU.TO added C$4.78, or 5.6 percent, to C$90.50.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 249.83 points, or 1.97 percent, at 12,907.23 with all but two of its 10 main sectors in positive territory.

The gold producers' subsector rallied 3.8 percent, boosted by a surge in the price of bullion as the U.S. dollar weakened.

NovaGold Resources NG.TO gained 89 Canadian cents, or 8.3 percent, to C$11.65, and Kinross Gold K.TO pushed up C$1.77, or 8.5 percent, at C$22.67.

Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TORIMM.O, maker of the BlackBerry, closed up C$5.19, or 5.8 percent, at C$95.31, after the company's CEO said he expects limited "negative effect" from U.S. economic issues.

($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)