* TSX up 55.01 points, or 0.47 percent, at 11,751.64
* Financials, materials lead TSX higher (Updates to midafternoon, adds quote)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, July 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index climbed on Thursday afternoon as materials issues were boosted by robust earnings from Barrick Gold and Potash Corp, while insurers rose on optimism about pending new rules on capital levels.
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world’s No. 1 producer, rose 1.5 percent to C$42.24 after the miner posted higher quarterly results on record bullion prices. Eldorado (ELD.TO), Barrick’s smaller Canadian rival, climbed 1 percent to C$16.56 after it said its quarterly profit more than doubled. [GOL/] [ID:nN29180081]
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) soared 5 percent to C$106.75 after the world’s largest producer of potash reported a quarterly profit blew past expectations, as a four-fold rise in sales volumes offset lower prices for the crop nutrient. Agrium (AGU.TO) rose 3.4 percent to C$64.71.[ID:nN28198150]
“We’ve had terrific earnings out of Potash, higher guidance and a very strong move from Potash and Agrium,” said Barry Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
“The market is focused on earnings. Earnings is what drives stock prices higher,” he added.
At 3:33 p.m. (1933 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 55.01 points, or 0.47 percent, at 11,751.64, with six of its 10 main sectors higher. The index had turned negative late Thursday morning as energy and mining issues retreated.
Shares of Manulife Financial MFC.TO and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) surged at least 4 percent, buoyed by a combination of recovering stock markets and signs that pending new rules on capital levels will be less cumbersome than previously thought. [ID:nN29260299]
“The bottom line is it doesn’t look like Manulife or Sun Life will be required to have more capital than they have now,” said Schwartz.
$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson