UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks boosted by record oil prices

Tue May 6, 2008 12:00pm EDT
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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.   Continued...