CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on banks and oil, but Agrium dives

Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:18am EST

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* TSX up 59.80 points, or 0.47 percent, at 12,699.77
    * Banks rise with equities tide, energy stocks up with oil
    * Fertilizer companies hurt by negative analyst report

    By Alastair Sharp
    TORONTO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The main Canadian stock index
was higher on Friday on rises in heavyweight energy and
financial stocks as oil prices rallied, and it looked on track
for a slight gain on the week despite sharp mid-week falls.
    "We may be reinitiating the uptrend," said Douglas Davis,
chief executive at Davis-Rea. "Possibly it's just a bounceback
after two bad days, but it doesn't look like that."
    He said Canadian banks rode broadly positive sentiment for
equities higher ahead of the start of their quarterly earnings
season next week.
    The energy sector also gained as the price of oil rebounded
after two days of heavy losses. 
    Davis said the beaten-down oil and gas sector might win back
favor as problems getting Canadian oil to market dissipate with
increased rail volume and the likelihood of a U.S. government
green light for Keystone XL pipeline project to carry crude from
the Alberta oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. 
    "If Keystone stumbles, we stumble...but I would bet on it
going through," he said.
    At 10:40 a.m. (1540 GMT) the Toronto Stock Exchange's
S&P/TSX composite index was up 59.80 points, or 0.47
percent, at 12,699.77.    
    The gains echoed moves in U.S. and European markets,
although Canadian miners bucked the trend, with heavy selling in
fertilizer companies in particular.  
    Fertilizer producer Agrium Inc was the heaviest
weight on the index, down 4.9 percent at C$103.48.
    Agrium reported record high fourth-quarter profit after
normal trading hours on Thursday but was hurt by an analyst
downgrade of many of the leading names in the fertilizer sector,
including Potash Corp, which slipped 0.9 percent to
C$39.99. 
    The market appeared to brush off data that showed the
Canadian economy registered its lowest inflation in more than
three years in January and its largest drop in retail sales in
almost three years in December.
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