UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rise, off highs, on golds

Wed Feb 6, 2008 10:18am EST
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TORONTO Feb 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was higher but off early highs on Wednesday morning as rosy earnings from BCE Inc BCE.TO and bullish gold prices took the focus off worries over a recession.

Gold producers, including global heavyweights Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) and Goldcorp G.TO, led the upside as the price of spot gold rose more than 1 percent to above $900 an ounce.

BCE, the telecom firm which is poised to be taken private in a massive buyout, was up 59 Canadian cents at C$35.14 after it reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and slightly higher revenue. For details, see: [nN06299216]

But key financial stocks, along with the utilities and health care sectors, skidded into the red after a positive start to the session.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 71.76 points, or 0.55 percent, at 13,003.71, picking up some of the pieces from its 2.5-percent drop in the previous session.

The index was up more than 135 points immediately after trading began.

The gold-mining subgroup climbed 2 percent with Barrick up C$1.14 at C$39.34, and Goldcorp up 91 Canadian cents at C$35.79.

Materials issues rose 0.9 percent and consumer staples added 0.8 percent. The heavyweight energy sector was up 0.1 percent.   Continued...