Toronto stock market climbs higher led by stock of BlackBerry maker

TORONTO – The Toronto stock market finished higher Monday as shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion(TSX:RIM) continued their upward trek and a civic holiday kept markets closed south of the border.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 68.56 points to 12,794.25 in a light trading session. The TSX Venture Exchange moved up 1.28 points to 1,236.60.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.15 of a cent to 100.68 cents US, near a three-week low.

U.S. stock and bond markets were closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The information technology sector led the TSX, rising 3.3 per cent. Pushing the sector higher were shares of Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) which jumped another 10.8 per cent as the BlackBerry maker heads towards the unveiling of its new smartphones on Jan. 30.

Its stock was up $1.70 to $17.41 on Monday, closing at the highest level since December 2011 and about 185 per cent above the stock’s 52-week low of $6.10 in September.

The Waterloo, Ont.,-based company has benefited from recent analyst upgrades and an interview with CEO Thorsten Heins in a German newspaper, where he suggested the company could sell its hardware division and license its operating system to a third party.

In commodities, benchmark oil for February delivery was off a four-month high, down nine cents to US$95.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

February gold bullion rose $2.70 to US$1,689.70 an ounce while copper prices were down.

“If we look at commodity prices, those are going to be a better reflection, in the very short term, of the sentiment around global growth,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

Elsewhere, the board of directors at Rona Inc. is being renovated under the watchful eye of two major fund managers that have a large stake in the struggling home improvement retailer.

Rona (TSX:RON) has been under fire from many investors since the Montreal-area company defeated a proposed takeover attempt by Lowe’s. Its shares gained 36 cents to $11.86.

Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) shares were ahead four cents to $2.44 despite news that the landing gear of an Air Canada Jazz plane fell off after it landed at Toronto’s Pearson airport on Sunday. Jazz spokeswoman Manon Stuart said pilots kept complete control of the plane during the incident, which saw emergency vehicles race out to the plane as a precautionary measure.

Overseas, the Bank of Japan began a two-day policy meeting. The Japanese central bank has been under pressure from the country’s new government to take more aggressive steps to fight the long deflationary slump in the world’s third-largest economy. Some analysts expect the bank to expand its asset-purchasing program and set an inflation target.