CANADA STOCKS-Commodity firms drive higher, ING brakes rise

Wed Feb 4, 2009 5:24pm EST
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* Resource stocks higher as metals prices rise

* ING Canada falls 14.7 pct after Dutch parent sells stake (Adds details, quote)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose for a second consecutive day on Wednesday as mining shares were boosted by a rise in underlying commodity prices, but weakness in financials kept the gains in check.

The resource-laden index's materials sector led the gain with a 3.9 percent rise, boosted by stronger gold and base metals prices.

The energy group finished the day up 1.4 percent even though oil prices CLc1 settled down at $40.32 a barrel after a U.S. government report showed a larger than expected build in crude inventories. [ID:nSP363085]

Heavily weighted issues that helped the market higher included Potash Corp POT.TO, up 4.7 percent at C$97.65, and Barrick Gold ABX.TO, which climbed 3.7 percent to C$45.73. In the oil patch, Suncor Energy SU.TO rose 3.3 percent to C$24.30.

The general strength in energy shares despite a fall in oil could mean investors are optimistic oil may be finding a bottom after dropping from its July peak of above $147 a barrel, analysts said.

"Crude oil has been quite volatile in recent weeks and it seems to be finding some support at the $40 level," said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.   Continued...