TORONTO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was set to ride the previous session’s momentum higher on Thursday, emboldened by the prospect of a rescue plan for U.S. bond insurers, as well as better-than-expected results from Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO.
The index mounted a late-day comeback on Wednesday to eke out a small gain as word spread that New York state regulators were meeting with battered insurers to hammer out a plan that could ease the credit crisis.
Market attention has been fixed on the United States this week with the TSX swinging widely, in an 800-point range, as fears over a recession gained strength.
“We’ve seen the market get very thin with this volatility, and moves get exaggerated. But with interest rates having come down so much, certain investors will be viewing equities as having become a lot cheaper than what they were,” said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.
Global equity markets rose on Thursday, yanking up the prices of commodities such as crude oil, natural gas and spot gold. Nearly half of the TSX’s weighting is in resources, and energy and materials stocks typically rise with the underlying commodity.
In the materials sector, world No. 1 fertilizer producer Potash Corp reported a doubling of quarterly profit, beating average analyst estimates. For details, see: [nN24226149]
Also in that sector, Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) told Reuters it still has aspirations to become an C$8 billion to C$10 billion company over the next few years. For details, see: [nN23359359]
Elsewhere, Methanex (MX.TO), the world’s largest producer of methanol, said fourth-quarter profit was flat. For details, see: [nWEN3539]
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 12,657.40 after adding 16.52 points, or 0.13 percent, in the previous session. It is down 0.6 percent so far this week, and off 8.5 percent so far in 2008.
$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Scott Anderson