Toronto stocks buoyed by resources

Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:34pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (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: Quote) rose C$2.12, or 1.2 percent, to C$185.39, while in the oil patch, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) 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: Quote) 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.   Continued...