CANADA STOCKS-TSX records 4th straight monthly gain

Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:09pm EDT
 
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 * 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
 * Ends week up 0.6 pct, posts 4th straight monthly gain
 (Updates to close)
 By Ka Yan Ng
 TORONTO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
finished just off its session high on Friday and notched its
fourth straight monthly gain 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: Quote) up 2.2 percent to C$49.12, while
Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO: Quote) added 2.42 percent to C$79.10.
 Fertilizer producers Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) and Potash Corp
(POT.TO: Quote) 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: Quote) 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.
 U.S. earnings have brightened the outlook for stocks, while
Canadian earnings appear to be on the same path.
 The index finished 0.6 percent higher on the week, and
gained 2.5 percent in October, which has long been considered a
treacherous month for equity markets. It has advanced about 12
percent in four months.
 "October was more festive than scary, and stocks have now
sailed through the toughest part of the calendar," said Robert
Kavcic, economist at BMO Capital Markets.
 "While the Canadian results are still a tad premature, just
47 TSX companies have reported, the early results indicate that
Q3 is tracking better than the prior quarter," he noted.
 Next week's earnings slate includes blue chips such as Sun
Life (SLF.TO: Quote) and Manulife (MFC.TO: Quote) in the financials group,
and telecoms giants BCE (BCE.TO: Quote) and Telus (T.TO: Quote). Also on tap
are U.S. and Canadian employment data for October.
 ($1=$1.02 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)