November 7, 2008 / 5:54 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Resources, bargain-hunting push TSX higher

* Gains in energy, materials groups set pace

* Telus Corp down 4.3 pct as profit falls, forecast cut

* Index opening quote delayed about 7 minutes

TORONTO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index .GSPTSE was moderately higher at midday on Friday on gains in resource issues as commodity prices rose. and on bargain-hunting after two days of losses.

Shortly after 12:15 p.m., the S&P/TSX was up 34.33 points, or 0.4 percent, at 9,589.74 in a see-saw session.

Advancers and decliners were even among the index’s 10 main groups but two of the advancers were the heavily-weighted commodities sectors -- energy and materials, which were up 0.95 percent and 1.83 percent, respectively.

Oil fell towards $60 a barrel after the U.S. October jobs report showed 240,000 jobs were lost, but it then regained some footing above $61 a barrel. [ID:nSYD358229]

Canadian Natural Resources, which fell nearly 12 percent in the previous session as it said oil sands project costs were rising and causing delays, recaptured a portion of those losses, up 3.3 percent at C$55.17.

The grim U.S. jobs report -- in contrast with figures showing an unexpected gain in jobs in Canada in October [ID:N07] -- added to worries about the depth of the downturn in the U.S. economy, but U.S. stocks rose as investors sought bargains after two days of losses. [ID:nN07399101

The Toronto index was also coming off two days of losses, hammered by slumping commodity prices.

“We had two extremely negative days and often times you’ll have a little bounce, some bargain-hunting. I suspect that’s part of what’s happening on both sides of the border,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

He said the market reaction to the dour U.S. jobs report was likely one that was “one step beyond the news itself”.

U.S. stocks futures were firmly higher ahead of the U.S. jobs data and only trimmed gains before the open. Gorman said that reflected expectations that the labor figures would be soft and that the U.S. Federal Reserve would act to revive the economy.

“From what I can see, there is a very very high probability that you will see the Fed cut (interest rates) once again, probably by another 50 basis points in the not so distant future,” Gorman said.

Telus Corp (T.TO) was among the top net losers as it posted a lower quarterly profit and cut its revenue and profit forecasts for the year. It raised its dividend but said it would make deeper cost cuts. Telus was down 3.3 percent at C$39.45. [ID:nN07389762]

Tim Hortons THI.TO posted a higher third-quarter profit as robust sales in its home market of Canada offset the lackluster performance in the United States. The coffee and doughnut retailer rose 2.5 percent to C$30.13 even as it said the economic gloom in the United States will put its U.S. sales targets out of reach.

The posting of an opening quote for the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was delayed by about 7 minutes on Friday, although individual stock quotes were available at 9:30 a.m. The exchange said Standard & Poor’s did not transmit the information to the exchange until around 9:36 a.m. S&P said it is investigating why the data was not transmitted.

$1=$1.17 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng and Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway

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