TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Wednesday, as stronger commodity prices drove materials stocks higher and Research in Motion RIM.TO charged ahead after it said it was on track to launch its new BlackBerry 10 next year.
The materials group rose 1.2 percent as gold prices reached their highest in a week <GOL/>. Copper prices also strengthened.
Also boosting interest in the sector was Potash Corp POT.TO, which climbed 0.5 percent to C$40.15, after the fertilizer company confirmed its interest in increasing its stake in Israel Chemical Ltd.
“People are certainly feeling more confident in the resource sector,” said Paul Harris, portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management. “Canadian stocks have been beaten up this year. You’re seeing some pickup of that.”
Volumes on Toronto’s stock market picked up as U.S. equity markets resumed trading after a two-day closure due to storm Sandy. .N
A total of 332.9 million shares were traded on the Canadian bourse, nearly double the 178.3 million shares traded on Tuesday when U.S. markets were closed.
“It’s a fairly positive tone here. There is nothing acting as a dramatic catalyst,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 45.86 points, or 0.37 percent, at 12,422.91.
The index rose as high as 12,462.26, its strongest level in more than a week. Eight of the ten TSX subgroups ended positive.
RIM, once the largest stock on the exchange, rose 3.7 percent to C$7.88, helping drive the TSX info tech sector up 1.4 percent.
The company said it had started carrier testing on its new line of BlackBerry 10 devices and said it was on track to launch the new smartphones in the first quarter of 2013.
Financial stocks climbed 0.3 percent, led by property and casualty insurer Intact Financial (IFC.TO), which rose 2.6 percent to C$61.25, and life insurer Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO), which gained 1.5 percent to C$23.00.
“There’s a feeling of confidence. It isn’t going to go overboard. It is managed confidence that we’re seeing is reflected in the market,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
The energy sector was one of the few areas of weakness, down 0.2 percent, as Encana Corp (ECA.TO), Canada’s largest gas producer, fell 2.8 percent to C$22.50.
Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO), Canada’s No. 2 independent oil producer, rose 1.3 percent to C$35.23 after SocGen upgraded its recommendation to “buy” from “hold”.
Brent crude rose to about $109 a barrel, though the gains were limited by concerns over demand impact on the United States. <O/R>
Additional reporting by Cameron French; editing by Andrew Hay