August 6, 2008 / 8:40 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 3-Resource rally pulls Toronto stocks back up

(Updates closing numbers, adds details)

* TSX rebounds 1.6 pct after Tuesday’s steep loss

* Resource sectors lead upside

* Agrium gains 5 percent after strong quarterly earnings

TORONTO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index climbed strongly higher on Wednesday, spurred by a rebound in resource sectors and a strong quarterly profit from fertilizer firm Agrium.

The materials and energy groups were the main impetus for the gains as investors returned to stocks that were battered in a steep selloff in the previous session.

The energy sector benefited from the rebound even though oil prices fell to a low near $117 a barrel before settling at $118.58. In Toronto, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained 5.7 percent.

Agrium AGU.TO rose 5.3 percent after the world’s third-largest nitrogen producer said profit more than doubled in the wake of surging demand and prices for fertilizer.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 211.31 points, or 1.6 percent, at 13,453.51 with all but two of its 10 main sectors pointing higher.

The energy and materials sectors pushed up 2.7 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. In the oil patch, Canadian Natural Resources was up C$4.28 at C$79.28, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose C$1.92, or 3.7 percent, to C$54.30.

Agrium closed up C$4.38 at C$87.16, and fellow fertilizer company Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO rose C$8.80, or 4.9 percent, to C$189.30.

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

Tech heavyweight Research In Motion RIM.TO helped pull its sector up 2.8 percent, as shares of the BlackBerry-maker rose C$6.31, or 5 percent, to C$133.23.

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 50 Canadian cents, or 1.3 percent, at C$39.66.

$1=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson

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