* TSX gains 0.46 percent to 13,855.59
* Seven of 10 groups on the rise
* Record copper underpins materials gain (Adds details)
TORONTO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index hit its highest level since July 2008 on Monday morning, backed by higher metal prices, with copper at a record high.
Supply concerns pushed both copper and tin to record levels, while gold held steady after its first weekly rise this year.
Global economic recovery hopes, from manufacturing to employment data, have underpinned commodity prices, helping Toronto's commodity-rich index touch its highest level in 2-1/2 years.
Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO was one of the strongest gainers on Monday, up 2.2 percent at C$63.12. The materials sector climbed more than 1 percent, backed by gains in Potash Corp (POT.TO), up 1.88 percent at C$182.53, and First Quantum (FM.TO), up 3 percent at C$133.00.
"The price of copper is making an all time high and this is certainly driving the market," said Sal Masionis, a stockbroker at Brant Securities.
At 10:30 a.m. (1530 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 63.74 points, or 0.46 percent, at 13,855.59. It had risen as high as 13,864.50 points earlier in the session.
Seven of the index's 10 main groups were higher.
Masionis pointed to merger news in the United States as another factor supporting investor enthusiasm for riskier assets. The U.S. deals suggest stock valuations are attractive, he said.
In the U.S., diversified industrial company Danaher Corp (DHR.N) agreed to buy medical diagnostics company Beckman Coulter Inc BEC.N for $6.8 billion. Oil drilling company EnsCo Plc (ESV.N) will buy rival Pride International Inc PDE.N for $7.3 billion.
In earnings news, Canadian life insurers may be one of the key groups that investors focus on this week. The insurers are expected to report higher profits on the back of stronger equity markets and recovering bond yields, but the results may give only a temporary bump to share prices that have surged over the past three months. [ID:nN04258744]
Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) was up 1.8 percent at C$19.18.
$1=$0.99 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson