* TSX rises 1.01 percent to 11,579.19
* Potash up after Goldman adds to conviction buy list
* Financial sector ahead 1.3 percent (Adds details, comments)
By Irene Kuan
TORONTO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was ahead more than 1 percent at midday on Monday, boosted by strength in energy and financial issues, while Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) also contributed to the gains.
Potash Corp was one of top gainers, up 3 percent at C$115.43, after Goldman Sachs had added the big fertilizer producer to its conviction buy list. [ID:nSGE5BK0DN]
“They (Goldman Sachs) feel that in 2010 that the agricultural stocks will do quite well. I also feel that way,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
The market also got a lift from a Statistics Canada report showing retail trade was up by 0.8 percent in October to a level nearly as high as a year earlier, before the sharp declines seen in late 2008. [ID:nN21217072]
“Whenever there’s a positive for the consumer anywhere in the developed world, it’s going to help the equity markets because that seems to be the focus on how sustainable the economy is right now,” said Nakamoto.
At 12 noon (1700 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 115.79 points, or 1.01 percent, at 11,579.19.
Other influential gainers included the top 3 banks, which helped boost the financial sector by 1.3 percent.
“(The banks) were beaten up a bit last week and the week before, so it could be people buying ahead of year-end,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Oil prices held steady above $73 a barrel after a 1 percent rise in the previous session, buoyed firm by demand due to cold weather. Base metal prices were also higher, helping boost mining shares. [O/R] [MET/L]
Analysts predicted trading would be volatile this week, ahead of the Christmas holiday.
“We’ll probably see the whole market whip-saw a bit this week. That’s pretty typical of light volume trading,” said Ibel
$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Irene Kuan; editing by Rob Wilson