April 17, 2008 / 2:46 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks tack on gains, rate cuts seen

(Adds details, analyst comments)

TORONTO, April 17 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index advanced on Thursday morning, led by hot energy stocks and emboldened by Canadian inflation data that leaves the door wide open to further interest rate cuts.

The oil and gas sector jumped 1 percent as crude oil futures rebounded from earlier losses, and natural gas futures steadied.

Meanwhile, inflation slowed more than expected last month, leading analysts to suggest the central bank would be more inclined to cut rates with inflation under control. For details, see: [nN17345313]

But some sectors of the Canadian benchmark index remained in the red as investors locked in profits from a recent rise in stocks.

“It’s short-term relief,” said Beste Alpargun, vice-president of equity research at Citadel Securities in Halifax. “These days we are hanging on to positive news to get through the day.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 53.35 points, or 0.4 percent, at 14,152.83. In the previous session, the index rose nearly 250 points.

By mid-morning on Thursday, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) added C$2.01 to C$116.39, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was up C$1.24 at C$85.39, while U.S. crude futures hovered near a record high around the $115 per-barrel mark.

Other sectors on positive terrain included materials, up 0.3 percent, and consumer staples, up 0.4 percent.

Cannacord Capital CCI.TO added 3 Canadian cents to C$10.29 after it said funding was in place for its plan to repurchase most of its clients’ frozen asset-backed commercial paper. See: [nN17431547]

Elsewhere, TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO), the country’s biggest pipeline operator, said its share of the costs of restarting nuclear units in Ontario will be more than originally estimated. The company’s stock fell 27 Canadian cents to C$37.13. See: [nWNAS8157]

Also on the downside, shares of Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO), the global information firm formed after Canada’s Thompson bought London-based Reuters, and which debuted on Thursday, were off C$1.13 at C$36.35. See: [nL17672779]

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Scott Anderson

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