CANADA STOCKS-Banks give TSX a modest lift, but Potash weighs

Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:26am EST

* TSX up 23.35 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,772.12

* Two of the 10 main groups lower

* Potash Corp down more than 2 percent (Adds details, quotes)

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was slightly higher on Monday morning as banks led a broad rebound from Friday's selloff, but a decline by Potash Corp (POT.TO) tempered gains.

Potash shares were down 2.2 percent, at C$138.31 and the biggest market mover. Fellow fertilizer producer Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) slid 2.6 percent to C$79.55.

BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) scrapped its $39 billion takeover bid for Potash, a move that came shortly after Canadian regulators blocked the offer.

"It's going to be interesting to see how much the stock drops," said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

"It's a matter now to see whether the people that sold because they didn't want to tender did the right thing or not. So far it's looking pretty good for them."

At 10:33 a.m. (1533 GMT) The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 23.35 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,772.12.

Only two of index's 10 main groups were in the red. The influential materials group, home to major miners, was down 0.9 percent. Health care stocks dipped a modest 0.04 percent.

Leading gains came from the the heavily weighted financial group, which was up 0.5 percent, bolstered by the big banks.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was ahead 0.9 percent at C$73.30, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) rose 0.5 percent to C$53.29. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) climbed 1.5 percent to $15.14.

Energy shares were up a modest 0.1 percent, helped by rebounding oil prices. Pengrowth Energy Trust PGF_u.TO was among the gainers, advancing 1.5 percent to C$12.63. Sector gains were tempered by some big-name decliners, including Encana Corp (ECA.TO), which was off 0.8 percent at C$29.18.

Gold miners also weighed on the index, despite a steady bullion price near $1,365 an ounce after its biggest one-day fall since July 1 on Friday.

"It's kind of one of those funny days where the golds in particular aren't following the commodity ... they've been lagging forever it seems."

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) slid 0.9 percent to C$50.80 and Goldcorp Inc (G.TO) eased 1.1 percent to C$46.35.

($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson)

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