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Canadian Stocks Rise on Gains by Fertilizer, Energy Producers

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian stocks rose to a second straight weekly gain as agriculture companies advanced and energy shares rallied along with natural gas prices.

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer producer by market value, increased 3 percent after the U.S. Agriculture Department said exporters sold 1.25 million metric tons of corn to unknown buyers. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. plunged 11 percent after forecasting a smaller profit than most analysts had estimated. Encana Corp., Canada’s largest natural gas producer, climbed 1.8 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index rose 10.02 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,039.39. The index gained 1.8 percent this week, the most since Feb. 18.

“People are comfortable taking long positions again,” said Stephen Gauthier, who helps oversee C$600 million ($611 million) as a money manager at Fin-XO Securities in Montreal. “Ten days ago, the situation in Libya seemed out of control and the situation in Japan seemed out of control.”

The S&P/TSX had slipped 0.8 percent this month through yesterday, reflecting the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the escalation of the Libyan civil war. The equity benchmark hasn’t had a monthly decline since June.

Fertilizer producers rallied. Wheat may rise as dry weather in the U.S. threatens crops, said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis.

Potash, Agrium

Potash Corp. increased 3 percent to C$56.12. Agrium Inc., Canada’s second-largest fertilizer producer, gained 0.9 percent to C$87.77. Viterra Inc., Canada’s biggest grain handler, rallied 3.4 percent to C$11.75.

S&P/TSX energy companies advanced for the first time in four days as natural gas climbed to a seven-week high on forecasts for unseasonably cold weather in the eastern U.S.

Encana increased 1.8 percent to an eight-month high of C$34.04. Talisman Energy Inc., an oil and gas producer with operations in North America, the North Sea and Indonesia, rose 2.6 percent to C$23.80. Enbridge Inc., the country’s largest pipeline company, climbed 1.5 percent to a record C$59.70.

RIM sank 11 percent in Toronto Stock Exchange trading, the most in nine months, to C$55.78. The company forecast first-quarter earnings of $1.47 a share to $1.55 a share, excluding certain items. Analysts had estimated the company would earn $1.66 a share.

‘Just a Taste’

“Time is not on RIM’s side,” Brian Modoff, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, said in a note to clients. “We think this quarter was just a taste of what lies in store for the company.”

Directory publisher Yellow Media Inc. increased 4 percent to C$5.50 after agreeing to sell its Trader Corp. unit to Apax Partners for C$745 million. Trader Corp. publishes about 160 publications and 22 websites.

Imax Corp., the maker of giant-screen movie-projection systems, climbed 6.6 percent to C$31.15 after Aravinda Galappatthige, an analyst at Canaccord Financial Inc., raised his rating on the shares to “buy” from “hold.” Imax soared 12 percent to a 10-year high yesterday after announcing plans to open 75 new theaters in China.

To contact the reporter on this story; Matt Walcoff in Toronto at mwalcoff1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net.

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