April 16, 2008 / 3:21 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks surge on Potash, oils, golds

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TORONTO, April 16 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index jumped to its highest level in more than four months on Wednesday as strong rises in gold and oil prices, and a key price agreement for Potash Corp POT.TO, pushed up the resource-laden market.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 159.51 points, or 1.2 percent, at 14,010.46, a level not seen since early January.

Eight of the TSX index’s 10 main groups were higher, with the commodities-heavy materials group up 2.8 percent and the heavily weighted financial group up 0.6 percent. The information technology group gained 1.2 percent.

“They came out of the gate pretty strong at the start. If we can sustain these gains throughout the day and maybe the next few days we might build a decent base to build a sustainable rally,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.

“Gold and oil are strong and that boded well.”

Gold-mining shares benefited from a hefty jump in the price of bullion, which climbed more than 2 percent to $944.85 an ounce, boosted by the dollar’s tumble to record lows against the euro following poor economic data from the United States.

All of the market’s major gold miners gained ground, including Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world’s biggest producer, which climbed C$1.50 to C$45.90, and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO), which rose C$1.82 to C$75.69.

Materials shares were also posting significant gains, led by index heavyweight Potash Corp.

The fertilizer maker jumped C$8.27 to a 52-week high of C$196.42 after the export group Canpotex Ltd, of which it is a member, said it will sell potash supplies to Sinofert Holdings, a Chinese fertilizer company, for a price that is $400 per tonne higher than that of a year ago.

Canpotex is a joint venture of Potash Corp, Mosaic Co (MOS.N) and Agrium Inc AGU.TO, which exports potash produced by all three companies from the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

Agrium rose C$4.43 to a 52-week high of C$84.93.

Toronto’s big energy group added 0.7 percent as the price for U.S. crude oil hit a record high near $115 a barrel after a U.S. government supply report showed an unexpected drop in crude inventories.

EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) rose 82 Canadian cents to C$84.37 and Talisman Energy TLM.TO gained 32 Canadian cents to C$21.30.

Technology stocks gained ground after Intel Corp (INTC.O), the world’s largest chip maker, posted revenue figures late on Tuesday that were just above market expectations and affirmed its full-year profit margin target.

Research In Motion RIM.TO added C$1.23 to C$119.11 and contract manufacturer Celestica Inc (CLS.TO) gained 6 Canadian cents to C$6.73.

Telecommunications shares and lightly weighted healthcare issues were the two groups in negative territory.

Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO) was down 32 Canadian cents at C$40.78, and Telus Corp (T.TO) fell 20 Canadian cents to C$45.20. ($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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