August 6, 2008 / 7:35 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-Resource rebound takes Toronto stocks higher

(Updates to late afternoon)

* TSX pushes higher in broad-based rally

* Resources rebound despite oil price slide

* Fertilizer companies boost materials group

TORONTO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index climbed further on Wednesday afternoon, gaining more than 200 points on rebounding resource issues and strong profits from fertilizer company Agrium.

After being battered in a steep selloff in the previous session, the materials and energy sectors bounced back despite little help from underlying commodity prices.

Among gainers in the oil and gas sector, Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO added 5.9 percent, as investors returned to the group even as the price of oil fell below $118 a barrel.

Gains in shares of Agrium AGU.TO also gave the resource group a lift, after the world’s third-largest nitrogen producer said profit more than doubled in the wake of surging demand and prices for fertilizer. Agrium rose 7 percent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 247.82 points, or 1.87 percent, at 13,490.02 with all but one of its 10 main sectors gaining.

The materials group, home to resource shares, led the upside, gaining 3.9 percent, while Agrium climbed C$5.83 to C$88.61. Fellow fertilizer company Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO was up C$10.97, or 6.1 percent, at C$191.47.

The energy sector was up 2.9 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources rising C$4.45 to C$79.45, and Suncor Energy SU.TO putting on C$2.25, or 4.3 percent, to C$54.63.

Investors fled both groups on Tuesday amid a broad decline in commodities, helping drive the overall benchmark down nearly 2 percent.

Elsewhere, telecoms company BCE Inc. BCE.TO climbed after it said its profit fell, but it signed up long-term phone subscribers at the fastest pace in about 2-1/2 years. BCE was up 48 Canadian cents, or 1.2 percent, at C$39.64

The small utilities group was the only sector on the downside, slipping 0.3 percent ($1=$1.05 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson)

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