February 11, 2008 / 2:08 PM / in 10 years

Advancing resources power Toronto stocks higher

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index kicked off the week with a triple-digit gain on Monday, propelled higher by robust resource shares amid climbing commodity prices.

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up for the third day in a row, gaining 141.58 points, or 1.09 percent, to 13,130.92 with seven of its 10 main groups on the upside.

The energy and materials sectors, which combined make up about 40 percent of the index, added 2 percent and 1.8 percent respectively as oil and gold prices advanced.

EnCana Corp ECA.TO rose C$2.44 or 3.6 percent, to C$69.69, and Suncor Energy SU.TO was up C$2.00, or 2.1 percent, at C$96.79, as oil jumped to $93.59 a barrel after Venezuela threatened to halt crude sales to the United States.

Also in the oil patch, shares of Oilexco Inc OIL.TO soared after the company said it is considering speeding up development of its Huntington oil field in the North Sea. Oilexco, an oil explorer that concentrates its activities in the North Sea, rose C$2.36, or 18.5 percent, to C$15.12.

In the resource-laden materials sector, fertilizer producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO was up C$6.85, or 5 percent, at C$144.27, and Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO gained C$1.12, or 1.8 percent, to C$64.57.

“Energy and mining look pretty good for us,” said Brian Pow, vice-president, research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.

“We’ve seen some pickup in commodity prices, there’s some global chit-chat out of Venezuela, for example, which probably helped the oil price a bit.”

The tech sector saw gains after a Wall Street Journal report that Nortel Networks Corp NT.TO and Motorola Inc MOT.N are in talks to combine their wireless infrastructure units.

The sector rose 2.3 percent, but Nortel finished the day off 10 Canadian cents, or 0.9 percent, at C$10.94. Both companies declined to comment on the report.

“If it does come together, I don’t think you’re really putting two winning companies together, so it’s not like you’ll get a much better company,” said Pow.

“It’s just an opportunity to cut out some fat and try to make something a little more competitive.”

Elsewhere, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO was up C$4.73, or 5.3 percent, at C$94.62. RIM and Vodafone Group Plc VOD.L announced on Monday a partnership to add the BlackBerry system to Vodafone’s lineup as one of its “preferred consumer operating platforms.”

On the downside, the consumer staples sector fell 0.7 percent, while Saputo Inc SAP.TO was down 68 Canadian cents, or 2.5 percent, at C$27.04.

Market volume was 330 million shares worth C$5.4 billion. Advancers outpaced decliners 871 to 699. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed up 9.48 points, or 1.25 percent, at 768.78.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied from last week’s losses, lifted by bargain-hunting and gains in the technology and energy sectors. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 57.88 points, or 0.48 percent, to 12,240.01, and the Nasdaq composite index .IXIC was up 15.21 points, or 0.66 percent, at 2,320.06.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

Editing by Rob Wilson

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