TSX rises for 4th day, boosted by Potash

Tue Jan 5, 2010 5:21pm EST
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By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO (Reuters) - The TSX ended at a 15-month high on Tuesday, led by a rally in shares of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan after the big fertilizer company was upgraded to "outperform" by Credit Suisse.

Potash Corp was the leading heavyweight advancer all through the session. It ended up 5.41 percent at C$123.00, which helped the TSX index reach its highest level since September 2008 and record its fourth straight higher close.

Prices for precious metals and crude oil were higher, boosting the index. While gold cut initial gains to turn lower, the overall tone to the index's energy and materials groups was solidly higher, and they rose 0.24 percent and 1.76 percent, respectively.

"There's follow-through buying from yesterday. The fact that the U.S. dollar is lower seems to help," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

Other advancers were big-name resource-based companies, including a 2.5 percent gain in shares of Teck Resources to C$40, and Suncor's 1.1 percent rise to C$38.73.

Financials were the loss leaders. Analysts cited profit-taking after the sector ran up sharply in December, while disappointing U.S. home sales data chipped away at sentiment about economic recovery.

"It's a knee-jerk reaction to that (U.S. home sales) number because any hint of weakness in the U.S. economy seems to spill over here as far as financial stocks are concerned," Picardo said.

Royal Bank of Canada was the biggest drag on the index, falling 1.5 percent to C$55.75, followed by Bank of Nova Scotia, which dropped 1.45 percent to C$48.22.   Continued...

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