*TSX up 56.77 points at 12,221.33
*Gold hits record high
*Eight of 10 sectors higher (Updates with details, commentary)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index crept up on Monday morning as gold prices hit a record high and other commodity prices gained, lifted by the possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve could signal further monetary policy stimulus this week to try to invigorate the economy.
Gold miners rose 0.8 percent as gold prices rallied for the fourth straight day, boosted by growing expectations that U.S. interest rates will remain exceptionally low as the economy struggles. [GOL/]
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s No. 1 producer, gained 1.1 percent to C$48.02, and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) added 1.5 percent to C$44.66.
While the Fed is expected to take little concrete action at its policy-setting meeting on Tuesday, its post-meeting statement will be eyed closely for signals on whether further large-scale asset purchases are needed to support the sluggish recovery. [ID:nSGE68J04M]
“Whatever the Federal Reserve is going to say, I think that will help clear the air a little bit,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
Base-metal miners advanced 1.4 percent and First Quantum Minerals FM.TO shot up 2.4 percent to C$69.06, as the price of copper rose to a new five-month high, lifted by market talk of further quantitative easing by the Fed. [MET/L]
At 10:11 a.m. (1411 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 56.77 points, or 0.47 percent, at 12,221.33. Eight of the index’s 10 main groups were higher, including the energy sector, up 0.5 percent, tracking oil prices higher.
Financials were flat and healthcare stocks were down 0.3 percent.
“I think the market is just trying to find an area of comfort and chances are we’re not going anywhere in a hurry, up or down,” Ketchen added.
“In the meantime we’ll center on what Canadians usually center on when they get into a period like this and that’s commodity prices.”
Potash Corp (POT.TO) jumped 1.9 percent to C$154.41 after a report that Chinese chemical conglomerate Sinochem Group had formally asked the Chinese government to back a takeover bid for the world’s largest fertilizer maker. [ID:nSGE68J009]
Research In Motion RIM.TO fell 1.2 percent to C$47.20, after India asked mobile phone operators to upgrade their networks to help security agencies intercept communication on BlackBerry devices. [ID:nDEL003435]
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Peter Galloway)