* TSX up 0.28 percent at 11,504.93
* Tech sector leads as RIM jumps 10.8 pct
* Commodity prices retreat as U.S. dollar rises (Adds details, comments)
By Irene Kuan
TORONTO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was higher on Friday afternoon, boosted by upbeat results from Research In Motion RIM.TO, but it was off early highs as a rising U.S. dollar eroded gains in commodity prices.
RIM topped heavyweight gainers, jumping 10.8 percent to C$74.30, helping to lift the index’s information technology sector by 3.3 percent.
“(RIM’s) earnings are showing they are a good product. It’s a sector leader and will continue to be for some time,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
After the bell on Thursday, the BlackBerry maker posted third-quarter results that beat expectations, while its forecast for the current quarter easily topped what most analysts expected. [ID:nN17171897]
The index’s gains were limited by weakness in energy and materials issues as a stronger U.S. dollar cut into commodity price gains.
Oil prices rose above $73 a barrel after an Iraqi official said Iranian troops briefly entered an Iraqi oilfield on Thursday [ID:nLDE5BH167] [O/R], but they were off early highs well above $74. Gold prices trimmed gains to retreat toward $1,100 an ounce as the dollar rose against the euro. [GOL/]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) fell 1.1 percent to C$36.15, while Cenovus Energy (CVE.N) was down 2.3 percent at C$25.52.
Fertilizer producer Potash Corp POT.TO was a heavyweight name on the downside, falling 4.6 percent to C$113.69. A ratings agency cut its rating on the company’s shares to “sell” from “hold” on Friday, citing tumbling potash prices. [ID:nSGE5BH0FF]
Analysts also said Friday marks the expiration of December options and futures, a convergence known as quadruple witching, and often means increased volatility as big investors adjust or exercise derivatives positions.
“You’re going to have increased volatility and on lower volume than you traditionally expect,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Wealth Management in Waterloo, Ontario.
At 12:10 p.m. (1710 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 31.87 points, or 0.28 percent, at 11,504.93.
($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Irene Kuan; editing by Peter Galloway)