3 Min Read
* TSX rises 0.89 percent to finish at 12,565.84
* All 10 sectors rally, materials big gainers
* Canadian provinces push Ottawa to block Potash bid (Updates to close)
TORONTO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished just off its session high on Friday in a broad rally led by gold-mining and fertilizer shares.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE climbed 112.15 points, or 0.89 percent, to finish at 12,565.84. All of its 10 main groups rose, with a 1.3 percent gain in the hefty materials sector.
The price of bullion was up 1 percent, sending shares of Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) up 2.2 percent to C$49.12, while Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO) added 2.42 percent to C$79.10.
Fertilizer producers Agrium (AGU.TO) and Potash Corp (POT.TO) were also key gainers, helped by boosted share-price targets for both companies from brokerage UBS. [ID:nWNAB8250]
Additionally, investors were watching developments in the Potash takeover story. Potash Corp's home province of Saskatchewan ratcheted up pressure on the Canadian government to block BHP Billiton's (BHP.AX) hostile $39 billion takeover bid, while the world's biggest fertilizer company insisted that rival bids could still emerge. [ID:nN22340110]
Shares of Potash rose 1.03 percent to C$147.50 as the Canadian government must decide by midnight on Nov. 3 (0400 GMT Nov. 4) whether to approve or block BHP's bid. The share price has also been supported by strong commodity prices.
"We've seen a big move in every food-based commodity in the past few months and an increase in demand for fertilizers as well as an increase in prices, basically making BHP's offer...look tremendously low," said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
"It looks like Potash is going to, in my opinion, continue as a standalone public company. If we are, as the company stated, at an inflection point for potash demand and prices, then it's probably best it stays a standalone public company."
Toronto's main stock index had a seesaw week as investors reacted to earnings results, a volatile U.S. dollar and swings in commodity prices, while caution also prevailed ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve meetings next week, which could result in more monetary policy easing.
The index finished 0.6 percent higher on the week.
($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)