March 12, 2010 / 9:42 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Potash stocks help drive TSX higher

 * TSX up 27.65 points, or 0.23 percent, at 12,007.35
 * Potash Corp jumps 5.5 pct after raising forecast
 * Canada jobs data boosts investor sentiment  (Adds details, quote)
 By Cameron French
 TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index ended higher on Friday, extending its recent surge, paced by rising shares of potash miners.
 Potash Corp POT.TO, one of the largest resource stocks on the index, shot 6.9 percent higher to C$128.03 after the world’s largest fertilizer maker raised its first-quarter earnings forecast, citing a sharp rebound in demand for potash — a key crop nutrient. [ID:nN11254666]
 Agrium AGU.TO, another potash producer, gained 7.5 percent to C$73.42 after the company said it was abandoning its $5.4 billion takeover offer for U.S. rival CF Industries (CF.N), ending a takeover attempt that had dragged on for more than a year.
 The two stocks helped lead the TSX index’s materials sector up 1 percent. Half of the 10 TSX subgroups finished the session higher.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange’s key S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 34.12 points, or 0.28 percent, to finish at 12,013.82, its highest close in 18 months and its first close above the 12,000 level in the same period.
 The index has risen 8 percent since the beginning of the month, and while the pace of the gains has eased this week, the market has resisted the urge to retrench.
 This suggests a level of investor comfort that could lead to further gains, said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
 “The economic numbers have certainly been very positive, but the key thing the market was really spooked about was this whole idea of cascading sovereign risk, starting in Greece,” he said.
 “Those fears have really abated.”
  ($1=$1.02 Canadian)  (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)                                       

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