March 25, 2011 / 3:34 PM / in 7 years

CANADA STOCKS-Resources lead TSX higher; RIM drags

   * TSX up 93.88 points, or 0.67 pct, at 14,123.25
 * Nine of 10 main sectors higher
 * RIM shares fall more than 10 percent  (Updates with details, comment)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, March 25 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was firmly higher Friday morning as resource strength led broad-based gains, more than offsetting a plunge by Research In Motion RIM.TO.
 Fertilizer giant Potash Corp (POT.TO) was the lead advancer, gaining 3.84 percent to C$56.58, after Chicago Board of Trade corn futures rose on news of a large sale of U.S. corn that was likely bound for China. Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) also rose, climbing 2.34 percent to C$89.07.
 The overall materials group, home to miners, was up 1.52 percent.
 Gold miners gained with rising bullion prices, which advanced as European sovereign debt worries and violence in the Middle East and North Africa underpinned the metal’s safe-haven appeal. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose 1.35 percent to C$51.00.
 “You have quite a bit of strength here showing in the resource plays and that’s basically what’s supporting the markets at this time,” said Gareth Watson, vice-president of investment management and research at Richardson GMP.
 At 10:57 a.m. (1457 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 93.88 percent, 0.67 percent at 14,123.25.
 RIM tumbled 10.43 percent to C$55.97 after the BlackBerry maker warned that heavy spending on its PlayBook tablet launch would drag on earnings. The overall technology group was the lone decliner out of the 10 main groups, retreating 1.73 percent. [ID:nN24175647]
 Oil and gas issues gained 1.15 percent, helped by energy giants such as Suncor Energy (SU.TO), which rose 1.67 percent to C$44.46. The group was bolstered by oil prices that rose on continued upheaval in Libya and other oil-rich countries in the region. [O/R]
 Positive sentiment south of the border also spilled over into Canada, said Watson.
 “The general upbeat tone coming into the open -- even though you had the bad RIM results last night, you had pretty strong results out of Oracle -- so that’s something that’s carried through to this morning,” he noted.
 Software maker Oracle, a technology bellwether, forecast a rise in sales, fueling hopes that a global resurgence in technology spending remained intact. [.N]
 Meanwhile, U.S. fourth-quarter GDP data showed that the neighboring economy -- Canada’s major trading partner -- grew more quickly than forecast. [ID:nLDE72O1JO]
 ($1=$0.98 Canadian)                                        

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