Toronto stocks surge on Potash, resources

Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:34pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was strongly higher on Thursday, pulled up by gains by Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) and robust resource issues amid firm commodity prices.

The index also reaped continued benefits from interest rate cuts in the United States and Canada earlier in the week, while investors were hopeful of another U.S. rate cut next week.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) climbed C$8.05, or 6.6 percent, to C$129.93 after the world's largest fertilizer producer doubled its fourth-quarter profit and gave a bright forecast for 2008.

The index has swung wildly this week, spanning a range of almost 1,000 points, following a big five-day slump that was sparked last week by intensifying fears of a U.S. recession.

"Things were overdone, it was really time for some sort of bounce from our extraordinary decline," said Douglas Davis, president at Davis-Rea.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 249.87 points, or 1.97 percent, at 12,907.27 with all but two of its 10 main sectors in positive territory.

The materials sector led the way up, gaining 4.7 percent, and the energy group rose 3.1 percent as oil climbed due to a tentative deal on a U.S. economic stimulus package, which helped ease recession fears.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) was up C$2.29, or 3.8 percent, at C$63.26, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) added C$4.78, or 5.6 percent, to C$90.50.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>