April 4, 2008 / 9:30 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks end week on winning note

(Adds details, quotes)

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, April 4 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index ended the week on a strong winning note on Friday, lifted by energy and materials issues that followed the lead of rallying commodity prices.

Resource companies led the upside, helping Bay Street mount its fifth day of advances in a row.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) was among the biggest gainers, lifted by strong earnings by U.S.-based producer Mosaic Co (MOS.N) amid surging demand and prices for potash and phosphates.

Mosaic is a stakeholder in Canpotex, the exporter and distributor for Saskatchewan potash producers, along with Potash Corp and Agrium (AGU.TO). Shares of Potash jumped C$3.90, or 2.3 percent, to C$172.57, while Agrium was up C$3.26, or 4.9 percent, at C$70.01.

The materials sector rose 2.6 percent, as shares of miners also climbed.

Inmet Mining IMN.TO added C$3.10, or 3.7 percent, to C$87.00, and Teck Cominco TCKb.TO was up C$1.51, or 3.5 percent, at C$45.30. Teck confirmed late on Thursday that it had agreed to contract terms for zinc treatment charges with smelter Korea Zinc (010130.KS).

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 116.90 points, or 0.86 percent, at 13,668.19 with six of its 10 main groups higher. The benchmark was up 3.3 percent for the week, in which it closed every session higher.

Oil and gas shares added to Friday’s momentum, gaining 1.9 percent, while the price of crude advanced as the U.S. dollar fell following weak U.S. jobs data.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose C$2.94, or 2.9 percent, to C$102.99, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was up C$1.98, or 2.8 percent, at C$72.38.

Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities, said the psychology of the market has changed as investors are hopeful the problems in the credit sector have turned a corner, but are still picking and choosing where to put their money.

“By definition, when stocks go up on bad news, it’s a sign of a bit of a turnaround,” said Masionis, pointing to the positive market reaction earlier in the week after UBS UBSN.VX announced writedowns of $19 billion.

Shares of Draxis Health DAX.TO added C$1.00, or 20.2 percent, to C$5.94 after India’s Jubilant Organosys JUBO.BO said it would buy the small Canadian drug company for about $255 million.

On the economic front, data showed the U.S. jobless rate rose to a 2-1/2 year high in March, underlining concerns that the United States has fallen into a recession.

Meanwhile, in Canada, job growth slowed in March after two solid months, with the numbers suggesting a softer jobs market and a slowing economy.

But the resource-heavy Toronto index was able to largely ignore economic concerns as investors, wary of financial issues, put their money into commodities.

“It’s definitely positive that we are moving up,” said Masionis. “Commodities had a very sharp selloff and they seem to be bottoming and turning around.”

Market volume was 404 million shares worth C$6.1 billion. Advancers outpaced decliners 933 to 620. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed up 7.01 points, or 0.88 percent, at 803.80.

In New York, stocks ended little changed as earlier optimism that the credit crisis may be easing faded in the face of the gloomy jobs data.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 16.61 points, or 0.13 percent, at 12,609.42, while the Nasdaq composite index .IXIC edged up 7.68 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,370.98.

$1=$1.01 Canadian Editing by Rob Wilson

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