January 23, 2009 / 3:34 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Gold price helps lift Toronto index; Hudbay up

* TSX rises as gold pushes materials up 3 percent

* Regulator orders HudBay shareholder vote; up 24.4 pct

TORONTO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index turned positive after a weak opening on Friday as strength in the price of gold and a rebound in energy issues overcame profit concerns and economic gloom.

Gold rose to above $870 an ounce to help the TSX’s resource-laden material’s group rise 3 percent with Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) up 5 percent to C$46.95.

HudBay Minerals (HBM.TO) was the second most heavily-traded stock on the benchmark index, rising 24.4 percent to C$4.38, after the Ontario Securities Commission ordered on Friday that HudBay hold a shareholders meeting before it proceeds with its planned C$550 million takeover of Lundin Mining (LUN.TO). [ID:nN23371375]

The decision raises the prospect that the deal will not go through.

“If there’s a vote and the deal is voted down then they’re not going to have that massive share dilution,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“If you’re a current shareholder that’s positive.”

Lundin was the most heavily traded issue and tumbled 22 percent to 93 Canadian cents.

At 10:23 a.m. (1523 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 37.96 points, or 0.45 percent, at 8,524.55, with six of its 10 main groups higher.

Earlier, the price of oil, which fell below $42 a barrel on fresh signs over the depth of the recession, helped to push down the key energy sector. By midmorning, the energy group was up 1.7 percent.

Economic gloom helped to drive down the heavily-weighted financial sector, down 1 percent, and the consumer discretionary sector, which fell by 0.5 percent.

Sentiment had also been hurt by earnings from General Electric (GE.N), which met expectations but were down steeply from the prior year, as the company warned of an extremely difficult 2009. [ID:nN23533557]

“It’s such a diversified and large company. It’s kind of indicative of what’s going on in the whole economy in general when a big company like that faces adversity,” said Beacon’s Ibel. ($1=$1.26 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)

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