TSX rises for seventh session, led by golds

Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:22pm EST
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished higher for a seventh straight session on Thursday, led by gold mining shares, which got a boost from better than expected results from Barrick Gold.

Barrick, the world's biggest gold miner, led all heavyweight gainers, up 3.3 percent at C$40.94, after it announced plans to spin off its African assets into a new company and said its quarterly operating profit more than doubled on stronger gold prices.

Goldcorp and Kinross Gold were also among the top gainers, rising 1.1 percent to C$40.86, and 1.7 percent to C$19.68 respectively. Gold producers have posted strong results this earnings season thanks in part to soaring bullion prices.

Gold prices also ended higher after a choppy session in the wake of the International Monetary Fund's announcement it would sell 191.3 tons of gold to the open market to boost resources for lending.

Gold "kind of sold off late in the day yesterday because of the IMF announcement and then I think cooler heads prevailed and realized that's really not that much gold for sale," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 59.35 points, or 0.51 percent, at 11,694.84. Eight of the index's 10 main groups rose, led by the materials group, which includes gold miners, up 1.2 percent.

"Investor sentiment has risen over the past couple of weeks," said Luc Girard, director of the portfolio advisory group at Desjardins Securities, in Montreal.

"It's about optimism over the economy," he said, adding that around three-quarters of the companies on the S&P 500 that have released results so far have beaten expectations.   Continued...

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