*TSX up 15.57 points, or 0.13 percent, at 12,206.07
*Gold tops $1,300 an ounce as data weighs on U.S. dollar
*RIM unveils tablet computer, shares down 3.3 pct (Recasts, updates to midday)
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index fought back from early lows on Tuesday and edged higher on the back of rising metals prices, with gold at a record high and copper firming after weak U.S. economic data pushed the greenback lower.
The index’s gold miners jumped 1.4 percent, with Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s No. 1 producer, rising 0.8 percent to C$47.38 and Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) gaining 1.8 percent to C$72.30.
Spot gold rose on safe-haven flows and as the U.S. dollar sank after U.S. consumer confidence in September fell to its lowest level since February. [GOL/]
“It’s an investment based on fear,” said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
“We think gold prices have peaked and just moving higher now because it’s been a good performing asset, but that doesn’t mean it has any value or people should be piling into gold stocks when gold is testing $1,300 (an ounce).”
Base metal miners, up 1 percent, rallied alongside copper prices, with First Quantum FQVE.PK advancing 1.7 percent to C$76.31 and Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) 2.6 percent higher at C$24.47.
Ivanhoe said on Tuesday it has discovered a new mineralized zone at its Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia. [ID:nN28153551]
At 11:52 a.m. (1552 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 15.47 points, or 0.13 percent, at 12,206.07. Its weighty materials sector was up 0.8 percent and key financial and energy shares were flat to slightly higher.
Earlier, the index fell broadly as weak U.S. economic data, including a drop in U.S. home prices in July, weighed on investor sentiment. [ID:nN28177460]
“It seems that the bad news, although it’s continuing ... it’s not upsetting us as much as it used to and that’s because we all know that corporate profits are strong and getting stronger,” Schwartz said, noting that there have been no major warnings on earnings heading into the end of the third quarter.
Dragging on the index, Research In Motion RIM.TO dropped 3.3 percent to C$48.02 after unveiling a tablet computer aimed at its core business customers as it tries to gain a foothold in a fast-growing market dominated by Apple’s (AAPL.O) consumer-friendly iPad. [ID:nN27231916]
“This is an exciting product that they’re having but it’s coming out sometime in 2011. Well, by then Apple will have a new version of their iPad and by then there are going to be at least 10 other competing versions of the tablet computer,” Schwartz said.
“It’s another example of RIM, too little too late.”
Potash Corp (POT.TO), was little changed at C$150.41, after a U.S. federal judge said on Monday he would allow the discovery process to proceed in a lawsuit filed by Potash to fend off BHP Billiton’s (BHP.AX) $39 billion hostile takeover bid. [ID:nN27253534]
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)