UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks get solid boost from resources

Wed Mar 5, 2008 10:50am EST
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(Updates stock movement, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, March 5 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index moved strongly higher on Wednesday morning, buoyed by rising resource issues amid gains in commodity prices, assisted by a recovery in banking stocks.

Advances by oil and gold prices helped lift the resource-heavy benchmark, as the energy and materials sectors gained 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was up C$1.99, or 1.9 percent, at C$106.80 and Canadian Natural Resources added C$1.14, or 1.5 percent, to C$76.09, boosted by a rise in the price of oil after OPEC said it would keep output steady.

Spot gold moved higher as the U.S. dollar retreated, helping to put shine into the gold producers subindex, which rose 1.5 percent. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) gained C$1.25, or 1.8 percent, to C$70.47 and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) moved up 61 Canadian cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$51.51.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 125.04 points, or 0.93 percent, at 13,601.85 with all but two of its 10 sectors in positive territory.

The financial sector added to the advance, rising 0.8 percent, staging a comeback after falling for the last five sessions.

Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, said the rally was also due to optimism over talk of a bailout plan for U.S. bond insurer Ambac Financial Group (BK.N: Quote).

"I think it's just a bounce off yesterday and ... they rallied big time in the last hour yesterday on the back of that Ambac (talk)," said Hand.   Continued...