*TSX up 0.5 percent at 12,263.39
*Resources, financials lead index higher
By Claire Sibonney
TORONTO, April 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Friday morning as commodity prices firmed and domestic economic growth data for February met expectations, boosting heavyweight resource and financial companies.
Gold hit a 2010 high above $1,175 an ounce and copper prices rose, lifting the index’s materials sector almost 2 percent. [MET/L] [GOL/]
“It’s a function of psychology and the fact that commodity prices are up today,” said Irwin Michael, a portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
He added that a move down in the Canadian dollar was also helping resource companies. “They benefit more when they get paid in U.S. dollars.”
Oil rose to around $86 a barrel, driven by expectations of global economic recovery and hopes for a bailout package for Greece. Natural gas prices recouped some of the previous day’s losses, pushing the energy sector up 0.6 percent. [O/R]
Heavily weighted financials were up 0.1 percent, supported by data that showed Canada’s economy grew by 0.3 percent in February from January, the sixth consecutive month of increases. [ID:nN30160623]
At 10:38 a.m. (1438 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 62.69 points, or 0.52 percent, at 12,263.39.
Offsetting some of the gains, however, was lingering uncertainty over the health of sovereign debt in the euro zone and media reports of a criminal investigation against U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs Group (GS.N).
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney told a parliamentary committee on Thursday that the Greek debt crisis and high borrowing by many Western countries pose an indirect threat to the Canadian economy. [ID:nN29250629]
“A number of us are bothered by the Greek situation,” Michael said. “We’ve yet to see it resolved definitively. Having said that, we take note of Mr. Carney’s comments that the Greek situation, the negativity, could affect North America and in particular Canada so we’ve got to watch it very closely.”
Business software maker Open Text Corp OTC.TO (OTEX.O) plunged almost 8 percent to C$43.63 after reporting quarterly earnings on Thursday that missed estimates, hurt by higher costs. [ID:nSGE63S0M6]
Danier Leather DL.TO surged more than 10 percent to C$8.55 a day after the clothing manufacturer and retailer reported a third-quarter profit and a 7 percent jump in sales. [ID:nWNAB4134]
$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney, editing by Peter Galloway