(Refiles to correct spelling of “driven” in headline)
(Updates to afternoon)
TORONTO, April 3 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index popped higher on Thursday afternoon, lifted by strong results from Research In Motion RIM.TO and gains in the materials sector.
BlackBerry-maker RIM gained C$6.86, or 5.8 percent, to C$124.49 after its fourth-quarter results, released after the market close on Wednesday, surpassed expectations.
RIM also provided a cheery outlook that suggested it is comfortably riding through the U.S. economic slowdown. Toronto’s overall tech sector rose 1.8 percent.
“It’s just in stark contrast (to) the very fact that the broad economy is no doubt weakening here, and you can see it showing up in earnings, and yet this company is doubling their earnings,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 97.66 points, or 0.72 percent, at 13,611.80 in the afternoon with six of its 10 main sectors rising.
Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) helped lead the upside, adding C$6.20, or 3.8 percent, to C$169.40, while the materials sector gained 1.2 percent. Elsewhere in the group, Agrium (AGU.TO) moved up C$4.08, or 6.5 percent, at C$67.35.
Nakamoto said the big interest in Potash and RIM showed that investors were putting their faith in companies that performed well last year.
“I think it makes a lot of sense in times of uncertainty and trepidation that investors are gravitating to the one thing they do know, (which) is that these are well-run leaders in their field,” he said.
Shares of plane and train maker Bombardier (BBDb.TO) rose 36 Canadian cents, or 6.4 percent, to C$5.96 after it said fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled, helped by increased deliveries of business and regional jets and an income tax benefit.
The heavyweight financial sector also lent support, gaining 0.9 percent, with National Bank of Canada up 92 Canadian cents, or 1.9 percent, at C$49.27, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) rising 94 Canadian cents, or 2 percent, to C$47.58.
On the downside, the gold producers’ subindex was off 0.7 percent, even though spot gold prices rose above $900 an ounce. Centerra Gold (CG.TO) gave up 96 Canadian cents, or 7.1 percent, to C$12.48, while Kinross Gold (K.TO) dipped 34 Canadian cents, or 1.5 percent, to C$22.96.
$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway