Stocks push higher as resources rally

Thu Dec 6, 2007 5:19pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index finished strongly higher on Thursday, as robust resource issues benefited from higher commodity prices and led a broad afternoon rally.

The materials sector was helped by a rally in gold prices and a surge in units of Fording Canadian Coal Trust FDG_u.TO after it said it was weighing its options, including the sale of the company.

The coal producer jumped C$4.65, or 13.5 percent, to C$39.10, making it the biggest net advancer by weight. Teck Cominco TCKb.TO, which has a nearly 20 percent stake in Fording, rose C$1.61, or 4.4 percent, to C$38.11. The sector as a whole was up 2.4 percent.

The energy sector was up 1.7 percent while the price of oil climbed $2.74 to $90.23 a barrel on supply concerns and weakness in the U.S. dollar.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) rose C$1.60, or 2.4 percent, to C$68.09 and Husky Energy (HSE.TO: Quote) gained 81 Canadian cents, or 2 percent, to C$42.10, the day after it said it would form a joint venture with British oil major BP Plc (BP.L: Quote).

Stocks also got some support as U.S. President George W. Bush outlined a plan to freeze interest-rate increases on adjustable-rate subprime mortgages for five years.

"I think the market is looking at that in positive a way, although I do think we're bailing out the people who made some bad decisions," said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management Inc. in Vancouver.

"In the short term, in the next six months, it's still going to be a rocky road."   Continued...