TransAlta, resources spur Toronto stocks higher

Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:38pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index surged more than 1 percent higher on Monday, propelled by a takeover bid for TransAlta Corp TA.TO, while resource issues climbed in tandem with commodity prices.

TransAlta was among the biggest gainers by weight after private U.S.-based firms LS Power Equity Partners and Global Infrastructure said they wanted to buy the Canadian company for C$7.8 billion ($7.8 billion).

TransAlta, which runs coal- and gas-fired power plants and renewable energy facilities in Canada and the United States, jumped C$4.86, or 15.1 percent, to C$37.11.

Bay Street's resource sectors also spurred the main index higher, as oil climbed amid worries of disruptions to U.S. offshore oil and gas production as Tropical Storm Dolly entered the Gulf of Mexico. Gold prices were lifted by oil and a weaker U.S. dollar.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 173.23 points, or 1.28 percent, at 13,689.19 with half of its 10 main sectors looking up.

The energy and materials sectors rose 2.4 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO climbed C$3.43, or 4 percent, to C$89.43, while Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO added C$1.51, or 2.2 percent, to C$71.83.

Gains in fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO and Agrium Inc. AGU.TO also helped push the benchmark higher. Potash rose C$11.83, or 5.6 percent, to C$222.99, while Agrium was up C$5.72, or 6.1 percent, at C$99.68.

The financial sector was higher for most of the session, lifted by better than expected results from Bank of America BAC.N. But the sector retreated late in the day, closing down 0.2 percent.

Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO was off 37 Canadian cents, or 0.8 percent, at C$44.33, while Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO rose 75 Canadian cents, or 1.3 percent, to C$59.28.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson)

 
<p>A general view of the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) Broadcast Centre in Toronto, June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>