April 3, 2008 / 9:31 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 4-RIM helps lead Toronto stock index to modest gain

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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, April 3 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index closed moderately higher on Thursday, boosted by robust results from Research In Motion RIM.TO, but fell back from earlier gains as energy and gold-mining stocks weakened.

Shares of RIM jumped C$5.79, or 4.9 percent, to C$123.42 amid enthusiasm over the BlackBerry maker’s better than expected fourth-quarter results, as well as the rosy outlook it provided.

Gold producers held the benchmark back, sliding 1.8 percent, even though the price of gold pushed above the $900 level. Centerra Gold (CG.TO) fell C$1.14, or 8.5 percent, to C$12.30 and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was off C$1.01, or 2.3 percent, at C$43.41.

“In Canada, we have the excitement over RIM, which probably has taken over for today,” said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management Inc in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“But one company doesn’t make up the entire index, so I think after the initial exuberance dies down a bit, you get what you have (today).”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 37.15 points, or 0.27 percent, at 13,551.29 with half its 10 main sectors in positive territory. The index climbed as high as 13,633.44 earlier in the session.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO also helped pull the index up as it jumped C$5.47, or 3.4 percent, to C$168.67. The move helped the materials sector rise 0.6 percent. Inmet Mining IMN.TO was up C$3.10, or 3.8 percent, at C$83.90.

Gains were offset as the energy sector fell 0.7 percent, while the price of crude weakened. Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) was off C$1.19, or 2.2 percent, at C$52.55, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) slid 75 Canadian cents, or 0.7 percent, to C$100.05.

Consumer-related stocks also weighed on the index, with the consumer discretionary and staples groups down 1 percent and 0.5 percent respectively.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, plane and train maker Bombardier (BBDb.TO) said its fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled, sending its stock up 35 Canadian cents, or 6.3 percent, to C$5.95.

The TSX index has finished higher in nine out of 11 sessions, pushing back toward the 14,000 mark. Analysts said sentiment has seen an improvement in recent days, as worries over the credit crisis have eased, buy they added the mood still remains cautious.

Investors will also be watching for the monthly U.S. employment numbers due out on Friday morning to help give direction to the market.

“The market seems to want to go up, and it’s casting around for an excuse, (but) it needs something to light its fuse,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments. “If we get a good employment number tomorrow, that might be it.”

Market volume was 404 million shares worth C$7.3 billion. Decliners outpaced advancers 781 to 762. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed up 2.91 points, or 0.37 percent, at 796.79.

In New York, stocks were slightly higher as credit fears eased after a report that Merrill Lynch & Co MER.N does not need to raise more capital. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 20.20 points, or 0.16 percent, at 12,626.03 and the Nasdaq composite index .IXIC edged up 1.90 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,363.30.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Editing by Rob Wilson

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