April 30, 2008 / 9:35 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks buoyed by resources, results

4 Min Read

(Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, April 30 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index trimmed early gains but still ended more than 100 points higher on Wednesday, helped by optimism over corporate results and stronger economic data from south of the border.

Resource shares bounced back from the previous session's slump, sending both the energy and materials sectors up 1.5 percent, even while underlying oil prices fell. Gold futures rose slightly in after hours trading.

"I think it's a little bit of reaction to the overselling the last couple of days," said Brian Pow, vice-president, research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary, Alberta. "Certainly there's no outlook that oil prices are going to pull back any time soon."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 111.44 points, or 0.81 percent, at 13,937.04 after earlier climbing more than 200 points. Six of its 10 main sectors ended higher.

The benchmark finished April up 4.4 percent, enjoying a strong rally throughout the month as confidence improved. It climbed as high as 14,372.31, less than 300 points away from its record high.

In the materials group on Wednesday, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) rose C$2.12, or 1.2 percent, to C$185.39, while in the oil patch, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was up C$2.74, or 3.3 percent, at C$85.55.

Canadian Natural said construction at its Horizon oil sands project was 94 percent complete at the end of March. The company plans to start producing oil by the third quarter.

In the day's round of quarterly results, Loblaw Cos (L.TO) jumped C$2.28, or 7.7 percent, to C$31.83 after Canada's biggest grocer said its profit rose, but it was disappointed by its sales growth. Loblaw's gain helped lift the consumer staples group 2.4 percent.

Brookfield Asset Management (BAMa.TO) rose C$2.10, or 6.8 percent, to C$32.85 after it said its first-quarter profit was slightly higher despite a depreciation of its assets.

Shares of Open Text OTC.TO vaulted to a year high the day after the software maker reported stronger third-quarter results, helped by growth in license and customer support sales. Open Text closed up C$2.64, or 7.6 percent, at C$37.19.

TSX Group (X.TO), which runs the Toronto Stock Exchange, said first-quarter profit fell due to a payment to end a planned joint venture with International Securities Exchange Holdings ISEa.DE. Without the payment, TSX's profit rose, sending its shares up C$1.82, or 4.5 percent, to C$42.30.

On the economic front, data out of the United States showed the economy of Canada's largest trading partner grew at a slightly stronger pace than expected in the first quarter.

The numbers helped boost investor confidence, despite a decline in Canadian gross domestic product in February.

"One month does not make a long-term trend, but I think we have to look at it and say there are some signs that things could get a little weaker," said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management in Vancouver

Market volume was a hefty 464 million shares worth C$8.5 billion. Advancers outpaced decliners 865 to 719. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed up 8.07 points, or 0.99 percent, at 825.91.

South of the border, gains evaporated after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates but the outlook for further cuts remained unclear.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended down 11.81 points, or 0.09 percent, to 12,820.13, and the Nasdaq composite index .IXIC was down 13.30 points, or 0.55 percent, at 2,412.80. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Editing by Rob Wilson)

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