UPDATE 4-Toronto stocks push higher as resources rally

Thu Dec 6, 2007 5:14pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO Dec 6 (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.   Continued...