CANADA STOCKS-TSX halts 4-day skid, gold miners soar on results

Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:09pm EDT

* TSX up 105.21 points, or 0.86 percent, to 12,300.23

* Goldcorp jumps 6.89 percent

* Agnico Eagle surges 8.93 percent

* Materials group leads index's rise

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index finished sharply higher on Thursday as strong results from miners Goldcorp Inc and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd, as well as encouraging global economic data, helped lift stocks across most sectors.

Goldcorp, Canada's second-biggest gold miner, posted a 48 percent rise in quarterly profit, sending its shares surging 6.89 percent to C$43.60. It was the most heavily weighted riser on the index.

Fellow gold producer Agnico Eagle was another top gainer, soaring 8.93 percent to C$55.97 after the company posted record gold production and boosted its output forecast for the year by 5 percent. The results also led some analysts to hike their price target.

"It's been earnings driven to a large extent, especially in the materials sector and the solid earnings from the gold producers," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities.

"The earnings and misses and disappointments have been much higher on the U.S. side than they have been so far in Canada. We are beginning to see some appetite once again for the materials stock and so on, so that's lending support to the TSX."

Goldcorp and Agnico Eagle's results helped boost the index's materials group, which rose 2.15 percent. Barrick Gold, Canada's biggest gold miner, was up 2.37 percent at C$39.25.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index broke a four-day skid, climbing 105.21 points, or 0.86 percent, to 12,300.23. Eight of the index's 10 main groups were higher.

The energy group was up 0.8 percent, and financials gained 0.35 percent. Together the three sectors make up nearly 75 percent of the index's weight.

Suncor Energy Inc rounded up the top four gainers, adding 1.28 percent to its value, finishing at C$33.14.

Crude oil prices edges higher after seven straight sessions of losses, as the threat of Hurricane Sandy to East Coast gasoline and heating oil supplies lifted markets.

Gold prices rebounded off seven-week lows hit on Wednesday, bolstered by encouraging GDP growth data from the United Kingdom and expectations the Bank of Japan will further loosen its monetary policy.

Encouraging jobs and housing data from the United States and improving conditions out of China, the world's top metals consumer, also helped sentiment.

"It's a rebound in markets across the board. Investors are taking a pause, making some profits in some areas and trying to gauge the next move in the market," said Philip Petursson of the portfolio advisory group at Manulife Asset Management.

In corporate earnings, Cenovus Energy Inc, Canada's No. 2 independent oil producer, said its oil production rose to a record in the third quarter as it continues to expand two northern Alberta oil sands projects, and profit for the quarter jumped 43 percent. Shares were up 1.18 percent at C$34.40.

Precision Drilling Corp, the country's largest drilling contractor, reported a 53 percent slide in quarterly profit as gas firms cut drilling in the face of weak demand and sliding gas prices. The results sent shares down 0.53 percent to finish at C$7.48.

Shaw Communications Inc shares rose 1.76 percent to C$20.85 after it reported improved operating results as solid performances by its media and satellite businesses offset a further decline in cable subscribers.

Corus Entertainment Inc shares were off 0.86 percent to C$22.00 after the specialty television producer reported a 16 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit on a one-time tax-related charge.

The consumer discretionary group, of which Shaw and Corus are a part, finished the session up 1.12 percent.