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: Quote) 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: Quote), 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...