April 4, 2011 / 2:48 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 4-week high, Equinox surges on bid

* TSX rises 0.74 pct to 14,234.14

* Equinox up 30 pct on takeover bid from China’s Minmetals

* Seven sectors advance, led by 2.3 pct rise in materials (Adds details)

TORONTO, April 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index climbed to a four-week high on Monday morning, buoyed by a new wave of takeover bids and by rising commodity prices.

A new pair of takeover offers for Canadian mining companies added to other deals in the works offshore and spurred hopes for an expanding merger and acquisition market this year. [ID:nN01283917] [MRG] [MKTS/GLOB]

Shares of Equinox Minerals EQN.TO surged more than 30 percent to C$7.50 after Minmetals Resources (1208.HK), China’s biggest metals trading company, made a surprise C$6.3 billion offer to buy the company. [ID:nL3E7F30DI]

The offer is conditional on Equinox dropping its C$4.7 billion bid for Canada’s Lundin Mining (LUN.TO), which has been the subject of a separate takeover tussle between Equinox and Inmet Mining IMN.TO. Lundin was off 3 percent at C$8.07, while Inmet rose 2.23 percent to C$72.03.

“The hunter (is) becoming the hunted,” said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co Investment Counsel. “People are reading into that that there is a wave of consolidation going on in the materials market and I would suspect people also think that will occurring within the energy sector as well.”

“You couple that with positive moves in the commodities today, and that’s certainly helping to carry the Canadian market upward here.”

New Gold (NGD.TO) slipped 4 percent to C$10.81 after the intermediate gold producer said on Monday it will acquire Richfield Ventures RVC.V in a friendly all-stock deal valued at C$550 million. [ID:nN04239951]

At 10:25 a.m. (1425 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 103.99 points, or 0.74 percent, at 14,234.14, rising for a fifth straight session.

Seven of the index’s 10 main groups were higher, led by the hefty materials and energy groups, which were up 2.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

An improving macroeconomic backdrop for global growth also helped sentiment, particularly after Friday’s healthy U.S. jobs data, sending copper and other commodities higher. [MET/L]

Brent crude rose towards $120 a barrel and U.S. crude hit a 2-1/2-year high above $108 as unrest in the Middle East and North Africa kept the focus on oil supplies and as signs of economic growth bolstered demand for fuel. [O/R]

Notable risers included Teck Resources TCKb.TO, up 6 percent at C$54.35, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gained 1.17 percent to C$44.12. First Quantum (FM.TO) added 3.34 percent to C4134.22, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) advanced 2 percent to C$50.41.

$1=$0.97 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway

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