* TSX up 144.19 points, or 1.04 percent, at 14,074.54
* All 10 of the main sectors higher
* Valeant shares up nearly 12 percent (Updates with details, comment)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, March 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was sharply higher on Wednesday morning as commodity-related shares rose and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International VRX.TO, shares surged on its unsolicited bid to buy Cephalon Inc CEPH.O.
Valeant shares were up 11.85 percent to C$48.43 after it made a $5.7 billion bid for U.S.-based drugmaker Cephalon. Cephalon shares jumped more than 29 percent to above Valeant’s offer price in a sign investors expected a higher bid. [ID:nN30117324] [ID:nN29299668]
The Toronto index’s healthcare group — the smallest of its main 10 sectors — was up 3.36 percent.
Gavin Graham, president at Graham Investment Strategy, said Valeant’s takeover bid is a sign of increased corporate confidence.
“Cash is cheap with interest rates being very low, management’s feeling a lot more confident than they were even a year ago,” he said. “Here is the latest example ... It’s a demonstration of the way management confidence has come back in a big way.”
At 10:12 a.m. (1513 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 144.19 points, or 1.04 percent, at 14,074.54. All 10 of the index’s main groups were higher.
The materials group, home to miners, was up 1.42 percent, while oil and gas companies were up 1.16 percent. The two resource groups combine to make up about 50 percent of the index’s weight.
Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) was up 1.18 percent at C$50.75 and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose 1.44 percent to C$43.82. Goldcorp (G.TO) was up 1.8 percent to C$48.19, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose 1.82 percent to C$50.28.
Energy stocks partly tracked crude oil prices, with Brent crude edging higher on ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. U.S. crude futures dipped slightly due to swelling U.S. inventories, but still held firm above $100 a barrel. [O/R]
Geopolitical unrest helped safe-haven gold regain its luster, though gains for the precious metal were limited by expectations that monetary policy in key regions may tighten. [GOL/]
Economically sensitive financial stocks, another index heavyweight, were up 0.69 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank climbed 1.46 percent to C$86.08.
Market sentiment over the economic recovery was helped by positive private-sector jobs data in the United States. [ID:nN30275708]
In individual stocks, Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) shares jumped 6.32 percent to C$8.07, while Inmet Mining IMN.TO climbed 5.17 percent to C$65.68. The two companies scrapped a merger plan, and Lundin was hunting for a bidder to trump a C$4.4 billion takeover offer from Equinox Minerals EQN.TO. Equinox stock rose 1.64 percent to C$5.57. [ID:nN29277609]
($1=$0.97 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway)