Resource rally pushes Toronto stocks higher

Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:25pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index pushed higher on Wednesday, driven by a resource rally that offset weak financials and jitters surrounding the buyout of telecom company BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote).

Climbing prices for oil and gold, key underlying commodities for the resource-heavy TSX, helped propel materials and energy shares higher.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) jumped C$3.57, or 2.2 percent, to C$162.91, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) added C$2.35, or 3.4 percent, to C$71.41. The energy and materials sectors gained 2.4 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

But declines in the financial sector held the index back, as the group fell 1.4 percent, again stung by uncertainty over tightness in credit markets.

"It's a pretty dichotomous market -- it's the 'haves' versus the 'have nots'," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

"The 'haves' are the ones with the hard assets and the 'have nots' are the ones with the invisible assets, or hard to value assets, which is sort of the financial services sector."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 69.64 points, or 0.52 percent, at 13,391.86 with half its 10 main sectors on the upside.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) was down C$1.93, or 4.1 percent, at C$45.00 and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) slid C$1.20, or 2.5 percent, to C$47.43.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>