*TSX gains 1.5 percent
*RIM rallies after outlook, financials up on ABCP hopes
*Gains muted by tax-loss selling, U.S. bailout reaction (Adds details)
By Wojtek Dabrowski
TORONTO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended 1.5 percent higher on Friday as fresh hopes for a restructuring of the frozen nonbank asset backed commercial paper market boosted financial shares, and as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TORIMM.O rose in the wake of a strong sales outlook.
Eight of the index’s 10 main groups gained, including the heavyweight energy and materials sectors, which added 0.52 percent and 1.81 percent, respectively. Financials gained 1.26 percent.
However, the session’s rise was muted by tax-loss selling ahead of the yearend, as well as investors’ lukewarm reception to the $17.4 billion U.S. automaker bailout.
“That’s a bit of a positive, but then you don’t know how tough that thing is going to be,” Brant Securities stock broker Sal Masionis said of the U.S. auto lifeline. “An automotive bailout is like almost an endless pit.”
RIM led the market in net gains, adding C$6.59, or 14.1 percent, to end at C$53.32. The jump came a day after the company delivered a fourth-quarter outlook that topped analysts’ expectations and said December’s holiday sales of its smartphones have been very strong.
National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) added 12.7 percent to finish at C$28.86. The bank has billions tied up in nonbank ABCP and on Friday the Canadian government and three provinces said they had agreed to help fund a C$32 billion restructuring plan for the nonbank ABCP market.
Losers included Potash Corp POT.TO, which fell 1.5 percent to C$88.66 after it cut its profit outlook late on Thursday, blaming the weak global economy.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 126.65 points, or 1.5 percent, to end at 8,552.00.
The trading day was a volatile one, in part due to traditionally lower volumes ahead of the holidays. The day’s low was 8,305.39 and the high was set at the close.
“You are very unlikely to be establishing major new positions in the week before Christmas — the volumes are minuscule, there’s a bunch of tax-loss selling,” said Gavin Graham, director of investments at BMO Asset Management.
In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed 0.3 percent lower at 8,579.11 as energy shares fell and as investors scrutinized the details of the auto bailout. The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.77 percent to end at 1,564.32.
$1=$1.22 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway