June 17, 2008 / 3:08 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks sprint higher on strong resources

(Updates to midmorning)

*TSX pulled higher by resource and agriculture stocks

*Banks rise on optimism worst of credit crunch is over

TORONTO, June 17 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index surged more than 100 points on Tuesday, adding to the previous session’s strong gain as it was again pulled up by fertilizer and other resource shares.

Fertilizer producers Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO and Agrium AGU.TO were both among the biggest gainers on the benchmark amid continuing worries over heavy crop losses from flooding in the U.S. Midwest.

Potash Corp was up C$4.76, or 2 percent, at C$240.43, and Agrium rose C$3.60, or 3.3 percent, to C$111.90.

Energy and mining companies also lent support, even though commodity prices were soft, as investors picked up shares in areas that have seen strength.

“I think money is gravitating to those areas that are showing good growth in earnings,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. “Obviously the energies, Research In Motion and agriculture are having good growth in earnings.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 115.99 points, or 0.78 percent, at 15,060.27 with eight of its 10 main sectors on the upside.

The energy sector rose 0.8 percent, while the subindex of miners added 0.9 percent.

Financials, which have borne the brunt of the fallout from the credit crisis, rose 0.7 percent after Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N) said its quarterly earnings fell but still beat expectations.

The results boosted optimism that banks are on the road to recovery, and helped lift Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) 93 Canadian cents, or 1.4 percent, to C$65.78, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) up 76 Canadian cents, or 1.7 percent, at C$46.09.

Tech heavyweight Research In Motion also pulled the index up, gaining C$2.19, or 1.5 percent, to C$146.40.

Investors were awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, which is hearing arguments from BCE Inc (BCE.TO) and disgruntled bondholders over whether a buyout of Canada’s top phone company should be allowed to proceed.

The hearings on the C$34.8 billion ($34.1 billion) buyout, the world’s largest, were scheduled to last 2-1/2 hours plus breaks, and it was possible the high court could rule from the bench shortly thereafter.

Shares of BCE was off 5 Canadian cents, or 0.2 percent, at C$33.48. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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