* TSX up 26.87 pts, or 0.2 pct at 12,488.85
* Touches two-month high at 12,542.58
* Italy PM’s resignation boosts commodities (Updates with details, commentary)
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rode stronger oil and copper prices to finish higher on Tuesday, as commodities markets reacted favorably to the news Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi plans to resign.
The news sent global equities and commodity prices higher as Berlusconi’s exit could ease the passage of unpopular austerity measures needed to reduce debt and lower Italian government bond yields. [MKTS/GLOB]
The news was cheered by the Canadian financials sector, which climbed 0.7 percent and led the TSX higher. Canadian banks have little direct exposure to Europe, but their profits would be hit Europe’s debt crisis expanded to trigger a global recession.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) rose 0.9 percent to C$46.42 to lead the sector. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was up 1 percent to C$52.70.
Energy stocks also finished up 0.5 percent, after oil prices responded positively to Berlusconi’s resignation. [O/R]
And Canadian base metals mining stocks rose 1.5 percent on the day, driven by Teck Resources TCKb.TO, which jumped 2.4 percent to C$40.25.
“The current prices for copper, oil and gold imply a very, very healthy return for the top producing miners on the TSX,” said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) shares gained 4.1 percent to finish at C$22.99 and Potash Corp POT.TO was up 0.7 percent to C$49.62.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 26.87 points, or 0.22 percent, at 12,488.85. The index touched 12,542.58, its best level since Sept. 9.
Italy has displaced Greece as the focus of the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis, with government bond yields nearing unsustainable levels, which could force the EU’s third largest economy to seek a bailout that Europe cannot afford.
“I don’t think Italy is in the sort of shape that Greece was in,” said Douglas Davis, chief executive officer at Davis-Rea. “At least they have a better infrastructure and a more reliable revenue system, and I don’t think it’s nearly the problem that Greece has been.”
Also pressuring broader gains, the gold-mining subsector slipped 1.5 percent after gold prices retreated in the face of a resolution to the Italian political situation. [GOL/]
In company news, Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO) shares fell 2.4 percent to C$22.84, despite the gold miner reporting its adjusted third quarter profit rose 182 percent, as gold production rose 14 percent and higher bullion prices offset rising costs. [ID:nN1E7A71PB]
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)