June 17, 2008 / 8:39 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks up as fertilizer shares rise again

(Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

*TSX jumps to record high close

*Pulled up by strong agriculture and energy stocks

*BCE higher after court delays ruling on buyout

TORONTO, June 17 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index notched a record high close on Tuesday, racking up its third session of triple digit gains as resource shares rose despite some softer commodity prices.

BCE Inc (BCE.TO) was up after the Supreme Court of Canada delayed a ruling on whether to approve or reject the C$34.8 billion ($34.1 billion) buyout of the telecom company. BCE closed up C$1.52, or 4.5 percent, at C$35.05.

Fertilizer producers Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO and Agrium AGU.TO led the way up amid worries over damage to crops in the U.S. Midwest following torrential rains and flooding. Corn prices were up sharply.

“They have a tremendous amount of concern about the viability of some key crops, which have pushed a lot of these commodities prices - most recently in the grain complex - to new or all-time highs,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Capital in Waterloo, Ontario.

That “has been driving some of the companies on our side of the market, but casting a sort of a pall over the U.S. market,” Chandler said.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 124.55 points, or 0.83 percent, at 15,068.83, climbing over the previous record high close of 15,047.34, set last month. Of the index’s 10 main sectors, seven ended in an upswing.

Potash Corp was the biggest net gainer, rising C$8.36, or 3.6 percent, to C$244.03, while Agrium was up C$4.70, or 4.3 percent, to C$113.00. The advance helped the materials sector push up 1.7 percent.

The energy sector rose 1.3 percent, even though oil prices finished lower on Saudi Arabia’s plans to increase crude output. Analysts said energy shares, which have not risen as fast as oil prices, were playing catch-up with the commodity.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose C$2.17, or 2.1 percent, to C$106.92, and Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO added C$1.05, or 2 percent, to C$54.85.

Shares of Air Canada ACa.TO gained 29 Canadian cents, or 3.3 percent, to C$9.13 after it said it will slash 2,000 jobs and cut capacity amid soaring fuel prices. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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