May 2, 2008 / 2:33 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rally on results, U.S. jobs data

(Adds details, analyst)

TORONTO, May 2 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index rallied on Friday morning as commodities, corporate results, and U.S. jobs data combined to provide a broad-based lift.

The Canadian benchmark was up 1.4 percent as investors cheered results from Agrium AGU.TO and Nortel Networks NT.TO, and as bargain-hunters continued to stake out financial stocks, which also advanced 1.4 percent.

“The financials went on a tear yesterday and that’s continuing today,” said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities. “Part of that is short-covering, but people also want to get into something where most of the damage has been done.”

Overall, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 192.74 points, or 1.4 percent, at 14,258.55 with eight of its 10 sectors in positive territory. Briefly, the index was up more than 200 points.

Materials shares added 2.4 percent and energy shares added 1.8 percent as the prices of precious and base metals, as well as oil and natural gas, advanced.

Fertilizer producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO led all gainers, up C$4.81 at C$191.36, while nitrogen producer Agrium climbed C$4.55 to C$84.15.

Before the market opened, Agrium, the world’s third-largest nitrogen producer, said it swung to a profit in the latest quarter, eclipsing analysts’ expectations. See: [nN02506877]

Nortel, meanwhile, rose 23 Canadian cents to C$9.10 after the maker of telecommunications equipment said it expects to meet full-year targets, despite posting a steeper first-quarter loss. See: [nN02548666]

In the United States, Canada’s biggest trading partner, data showed employers shed far fewer jobs last month than analysts had forecast. That gave a boost to both U.S. and Canadian stocks.

The TSX financial sector, which has born the brunt of the fallout from both the U.S. economic downturn and the global credit crunch, was led higher by Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), up 81 Canadian cents at C$50.01.

$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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