*TSX up 86.86 points, or 0.62 percent, at 14,138.99
* All 10 groups higher, materials group up 1.19 pct
* Lundin up 19.69 pct (Updates with details, comments)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose broadly on Monday morning, spurred by better than expected economic growth data for the fourth quarter and a C$4.8 billion ($4.9 billion) takeover bid for Lundin Mining (LUN.TO).
Statistics Canada said strong exports were the main driver of growth in the quarter as the economy revived in the latter part of the year after a bout of muted growth. The data supported market expectations that the Bank of Canada will resume interest rate hikes sometime in the first half of this year. [ID:nN28244249]
The index’s mining-heavy materials group led gains with a 1.19 percent rise that was sparked by Australia’s Equinox Minerals’ EQN.TO C$4.8 billion ($5 billion) takeover offer for base-metals miner Lundin Mining, a move that could trigger a bidding war with Inmet Mining IMN.TO, with which Lundin has a merger agreement.[ID:nN27203451].
Lundin soared 19.69 percent to C$7.72. Equinox shares were down 7.18 percent at C$5.82, while Inmet Mining was off 1.66 percent at C$66.18.
Fertilizer producer Potash Corp POT.TO was having its fourth consecutive day of gains, rising 2.07 percent to C$60.09, with Gleacher & Co the latest firm to raise its rating on the fertilizer giant.
Also in the materials sector, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) rose 5.52 percent to C$121.66.
At 10:21 a.m. (1521 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 86.86 points, or 0.62 percent, at 14,138.99. The TSX was near its highest level since July 2008.
All 10 of the index’s main sectors were on firmer ground. The financials group, which makes up roughly a third of the index, was up 0.47 percent.
“I think it’s a combination of three factors,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
“One is a lack of bad news in terms of what’s going on in the Middle East, two the strong GDP numbers driven by exports, and third just merger Monday — takeovers in the mining space.”
Market sentiment had been gloomy as violent unrest in North Africa sparked worries that the protests would spread to other parts of the region and that surging oil prices could crimp global economic recovery. Reassurances on oil supply from Saudi Arabia late last week soothed some of the supply worries and reined in crude prices. [O/R]
($1=$0.97 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway)