* TSX up 73.06 points, or 0.6 percent, at 12519.09
* Six of the TSX’s main sectors higher
* Potash Corp, Agrium, Research In Motion help lift market (Updates to late morning)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main index was higher late on Friday morning despite weaker jobs reports in Canada and the United States as investors took the data as a signal central banks will continue to try to stimulate the North American economy.
The index’s strongest performing sector was the key materials group, up 1.8 percent, as fertilizer makers jumped on news that the U.S. government estimates a smaller-than-expected U.S. corn harvest. The news pushed prices of the nutrient-intensive crop higher. [ID:nN08221292]
Fertilizer producer Agrium Inc AGU.TO was the top net gainer on the index, up 7.1 percent at C$82.15.
Fertilizer maker Potash Corp POT.TO, which is trying to fend off a hostile takeover bid from BHP Billiton, climbed 1.8 percent to C$146.13. A newspaper report on Friday said China’s Sinochem was seeking a nod from the Canadian government to make a bid for Potash Corp and was willing to make major concessions to ease concerns. [ID:nSGE6970DE]
Stronger metal prices buoyed by a softer U.S. dollar, which fell on the jobs data, also helped lift the index’s materials sector. [MET/L]
Copper rose 1 percent, while gold, which has seen a near 10 percent rally since the end of August, hit session highs.
At 11:32 a.m. (1532 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE climbed 73.06 points, or 0.6 percent to 12519.09. Eight of the TSX’s main sectors were in the black.
Canada’s economy lost 6,600 jobs in September, reducing further the likelihood the Bank of Canada will raise rates again this month after already hiking rates three times this year. [ID:nN08200558]
South of the border, the U.S. economy shed more jobs for the fourth straight month, strengthening expectations the Fed will take action to boost recovery. [ID:nN08205203]
“I think there’s a bit of a collective sigh of relief,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.
“The numbers are not fabulous, but those that were coming out earlier in the week suggested it could’ve been worse. That’s probably why you’re seeing things trading in a narrow range and a touch to the positive side at this stage.”
Base-metals miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO advanced 2 percent to C$44.77, while Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) was up 1.8 percent at C$24.63. Gold miner Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) rose 1.4 percent to C$73.64 and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), another lead gainer on the index, advanced 1.2 percent to C$49.08.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO rose 1.5 percent to C$49.61 and helped push the tech sector up 0.8 percent. RIM’s gain came after the United Arab Emirates state news agency said the UAE will not suspend BlackBerry services on Oct. 11 after resolving a dispute over access to email and other data. [ID:nLDE6970AM]
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)