July 29, 2010 / 8:30 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Earnings, insurers push TSX higher

* TSX up 32.01 points, or 0.27 percent, at 11,728.64

* Barrick Gold, Potash Corp rally after results

* Four of TSX 10 main groups higher (Updates figures to close and adds details)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, July 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index climbed on Thursday, boosted by robust earnings from Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Potash Corp POT.TO, while insurer shares rose on optimism about pending new rules on capital levels.

Barrick Gold, the world’s No. 1 producer, rose 0.9 percent to C$42.00 after it posted higher quarterly results on record-high bullion prices. Eldorado (ELD.TO), a smaller Canadian rival, climbed 0.8 percent to C$16.53 after it said its quarterly profit more than doubled. [GOL/] [ID:nN29180081]

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world’s largest producer of potash, jumped 4.6 percent to C$106.39 after it reported a quarterly profit that blew past expectations with a four-fold rise in sales volumes offsetting lower prices for the crop nutrient. Fellow potash producer Agrium AGU.TO rose 3.2 percent to C$64.62. [ID:nN28198150]

“Potash seems to be telling us that prices have bottomed. Potash demand is going to increase year over year and they feel confident enough to raise their guidance going forward. That’s really good news there,” said Barry Schwartz, vice-president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.

“We’ve had terrific earnings out of Potash, higher guidance and a very strong move from Potash and Agrium,” he said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished the session up 32.01 points, or 0.27 percent, at 11,728.64, with four of its 10 main sectors higher.

Also supporting the rise were shares of Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) and Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO), which rallied 4.3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, on a combination of recovering stock markets and signs that pending new rules on capital levels will be less cumbersome than had been thought. [ID:nN29260299]

Like banks, insurers have been bracing for global regulations on capital levels that aim to protect balance sheets in the event of another market meltdown.

“The bottom line is it doesn’t look like Manulife or Sun Life will be required to have more capital than they have now,” Schwartz said.

$1=$1.04 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway

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