February 28, 2008 / 3:55 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rise on strong oils, resources

(Updates stock movement, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index moved higher on Thursday morning, lifted by gains in resource shares, which offset losses in the heavyweight banking sector.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 37.67 points, or 0.27 percent, at 13,816.05 with four of its 10 main groups in positive territory.

The energy and resource-laden materials sectors helped prop up the index, rising 1 percent and 0.8 percent respectively, while the price of oil bounced over $100 a barrel due to supply concerns in Nigeria.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained C$1.33, or 1.9 percent, to C$73.15 after the oil exploration firm said fourth-quarter profit more than doubled. Elsewhere in the group, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose C$2.57, or 2.6 percent, to C$103.22.

In the materials sector, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan was up C$2.91, or 1.9 percent, at C$158.93.

But the banking group, the biggest group on the index, was down 0.5 percent, with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) dropping 1.4 percent after it posted a big first-quarter loss due to writedowns in securities exposed to the troubled U.S. mortgage market. CIBC was down 94 Canadian cents to C$68.06.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) lost C$1.00, or 1.9 percent, to C$53.00, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) fell 21 Canadian cents, or 0.3 percent, to C$67.53. TD posted a 5-percent rise in profit, but that was below its target of 7-10 percent.

Investors remained wary of the beleaguered financial group, which has been hit by writedowns and jitters over more to come, said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.

“(There) could be more writeoffs as they go through the year, so the market is still looking with a jaundiced eye to these earnings because obviously there’s probably some more cockroaches hidden in all these derivatives products, especially CIBC,” Masionis said. “This is really our biggest problem is the financial sector.”

The tech sector lost 1.5 percent with Nortel Networks NT.TO down 58 Canadian cents, or 6 percent, at C$9.10, and Research In Motion RIM.TO off 85 Canadian cents, or 0.8 percent, at C$108.23.

$1=$0.98 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway

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