*TSX rises 69.70 points, or 0.5 pct, to 13,815.85
*Nine of 10 sectors firmer (Updates with details, comments)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, March 18 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index pushed higher on Friday morning as Group of Seven nations intervened to weaken the soaring yen and oil prices fell after Libya declared a ceasefire in its military action against rebels.
All 10 index sectors rose, with materials, up 0.8 percent, leading the gainers. Gold and base-metals miners advanced despite a drop in copper prices. Gold rose 1 percent as the United Nations’ authorization of a no-fly zone in Libya boosted bullion’s status as a shelter from risk. [GOL/] [MET/L]
Muammar Gaddafi’s government said it was declaring a unilateral ceasefire in its offensive to crush Libya’s revolt as Western warplanes prepared to enforce the no-fly zone. [ID:nLDE72H00K]
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) climbed 0.8 percent to C$48.17, and Goldcorp (G.TO) gained 0.9 percent to C$46.23.
Meanwhile, Japan bought billions of U.S. dollars to restrain the yen, as did other Group of Seven central banks, including the Bank of Canada, as the G7 moved to calm markets made nervous by Japan’s nuclear crisis. [ID:nL3E7EH3HN]
“We certainly got out of the gate pretty strong here, a lack of bad news out of Japan and a little bit of good news out of the Middle Eastern theater. It’s just given the market a little bit of a pulse here on the opening,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.
“The market hasn’t seen a lot of good news out of the last few days or weeks or so, so finally it’s had some news that’s a little bit more positive and gives investors a little bit more confidence.”
Energy stocks were up 0.3 percent, despite a fall in oil prices. [O/R]
EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) jumped 1.6 percent to C$33.61, and Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS.TO rose 0.6 percent to C$31.74, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was down 0.4 percent at C$43.78.
At 10:26 a.m. (1426 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 69.70 points, or 0.51 percent, at 13,815.85. Consumer staples was the only sector in negative territory. Financials were 0.2 percent firmer as insurers outperformed after a recent selloff tied to exposure to Japan.
Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) bounced up 1.3 percent to C$16.65, and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) gained 1.3 percent to C$30.66.
The market could see volatility later on Friday with the quarterly expiration of March stock options, but less than in the United States, where a two-day quadruple witching period ends. Quadruple witching is the expiration and settlement of March stock index futures, single-stock futures, equity options and stock index options.
Latimer said that the index’s ability to hold support near the January low around 13,200 this week should give investors some confidence.
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)