UPDATE 4-Toronto stocks extend resource-fuelled rally

Thu Jan 3, 2008 5:34pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO Jan 3 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed higher on Thursday, lifted by strong resource issues, after gold and oil prices touched record highs for a second day in a row.

With only three sectors in positive territory, the materials and energy sectors provided the lion's share of support, gaining 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.

"With the Canadian market really backed by a strong commodities sector and strong commodities prices, I guess we ought not to be surprised," said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod. "We can probably figure it out as being rewarding to the kind of market that we have."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 51.44 points, or 0.37 percent, at 13,978.20, the fourth straight session that the index has ended higher

The index climbed more than 100 points to push above the 14,000 mark for the first time in three weeks, before easing, hampered in part by worries over inflation.

Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) rose C$2.78, or 6.1 percent, to C$48.43, while the gold subsector soared 3.7 percent as the price of bullion surged as high as $869.05 an ounce before easing to $862.90.

Oil briefly broke the $100 a barrel level it reached on Wednesday, before retreating 44 cents to settle at $99.18.   Continued...