May 6, 2008 / 4:03 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks boosted by record oil prices

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(Updates to midday)

TORONTO, May 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange pushed higher on Tuesday as its resource-heavy index benefited from surging resource shares as oil prices scaled new heights.

Resource companies led the upside, with Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gaining C$2.45, or 2.8 percent, to C$90.40, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rising C$2.02, or 1.7 percent, to C$118.52, as the price of crude vaulted the $122 mark. Toronto's energy sector climbed 1.9 percent.

Oil shot up to a record high amid supply disruptions in Nigeria and continuing tension between Iran and the West over Iran's nuclear program.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 61.89 points, or 0.43 percent, at 14,336.23, but off of its session high of 14,382.67. Four of its 10 main sectors were higher.

The materials sector, home to resource shares, added 1.7 percent, helped by a 1.6-percent rise in gold producers as bullion prices took their cue from oil's direction.

Shares of Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose 52 Canadian cents, or 1.3 percent, to C$39.93 after the world's biggest gold miner reported strong first-quarter earnings.

Fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) and Agrium (AGU.TO) also rose. Potash was up C$4.75, or 2.4 percent, at C$201.11, and Agrium climbed C$2.67, or 3.2 percent, to C$86.90.

Shares of food processor and distributor George Weston (WN.TO) added C$1.57, or 3.2 percent, to C$50.57 after its quarterly profit rose as it took steps to mitigate cost pressures.

Sun Life (SLF.TO) was among the biggest losers by weight, falling C$2.33, or 4.7 percent, to C$46.87, after operating earnings were hurt by global credit problems and a strong Canadian dollar.

The financial sector as a whole fell 1.1 percent, caught up in resurgent worries over the health of U.S. housing and credit markets after Fannie Mae FNM.N, the largest provider of U.S. home financing, posted a hefty loss and cut its dividend.

Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was down 88 Canadian cents, or 1.8 percent, at C$47.95, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was off 47 Canadian cents, or 1 percent, at C$48.23. ($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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