March 8, 2012 / 3:18 PM / 7 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX gets boost as Greece hope lifts resources

* TSX up 57.77 points, or 0.47 pct, at 12,407.93

* Nine of 10 sectors higher

* Bank of Canada holds rate, sees improved outlook

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, March 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Thursday morning as commodity prices climbed on optimism that Greece would complete a critical private bond swap deal so that it can avoid a messy debt default.

Hope that Greece would get the deal done lifted prices for oil, copper, gold and other commodities along with commodity-linked currencies such as the Canadian dollar.

The Canadian currency’s rally against the U.S. dollar on Thursday morning was also helped by a more upbeat outlook for the Canadian and global economies from the Bank of Canada, which nevertheless kept its key interest rate a low 1 percent, as anticipated.

Leaders on the Toronto index included Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, up 0.6 percent at C$35.34, after the independent oil explorer swung to a fourth-quarter profit and raised its dividend. Suncor Energy rose nearly 1 percent to C$34.04.

Fertilizer producer Potash Corp rose 0.2 percent to C$43.04 and diversified miner Teck Resources soared 2.1 percent to C$36.58.

Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, said Toronto followed overseas markets higher in a relief rally following recent losses on nervousness ahead of the Greek deal deadline.

“European markets have done better overnight on relief over the Greek tender issue, which has been a bit of a drag over the last couple of days,” Hand said.

“The market had been held back and was nervous that without the tender being successful you’d be visiting the mess again. It’s relief anyway after being cautious for a couple of days.”

At around 9:50 a.m. (1450 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 57.77 points, or 0.47 percent, at 12,407.93, with nine of its 10 sectors higher. The consumer staples sector sank 0.1 percent.

Focus was also jobs data. The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, a government report showed on Thursday, but not enough to change perceptions that the labor market was strengthening.

Markets will now be closely watching U.S. and Canadian jobs data for February, due for release on Friday.

In company news, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce shed 0.1 percent to C$76.17 even though the bank said first-quarter profit rose 9 percent, beating estimates.

CIBC is the last of Canada’s big banks to report results in a quarter that has generally shown household lending to be holding strong, with higher-than-expected capital markets revenue.

Viterra was down 1.7 percent at C$10.62 after it reported a lower quarterly profit, hurt by weaker earnings in grain handling and processing.

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