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By Leah Schnurr
TORONTO, April 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index benefited from a surge by oil and other commodities on Monday, as resource shares pushed higher, but it lost some steam amid afternoon profit-taking.
Fording Canadian Coal Trust FDG_u.TO was among the biggest lifts on the benchmark, as its units jumped to a new high after Korean steelmaker POSCO (005490.KS) agreed to a big increase in coking coal prices with another miner, giving fresh evidence of rising contract values. Fording finished up C$3.56, or 6.2 percent, at C$61.26.
Shares of energy and mining companies were also among the biggest weighted advancers, buoyed by a rally in oil, gold and other metals. Inmet Mining IMN.TO was up C$2.00, or 2.3 percent, at C$89.00, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) added C$1.52, or 1.5 percent, to C$104.51.
But the index retreated from the day’s high of 13,897.39 as it lost momentum to profit-taking in the afternoon.
“It’s just very typical of what’s been happening the last few days,” said Elvis Picardo, investment strategist at Northern Securities Inc., in Vancouver, of the volatility.
“In these markets, I think at some point you’re going to decide that this is enough and maybe take your money while you can.”
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 76.82 points, or 0.56 percent, at 13,745.01 with seven of its 10 main groups in an upswing.
The index has gained more than 7 percent over the past two weeks amid a shift to more positive sentiment on the economic outlook.
“The stock market obviously trades well ahead of where things are,” said Brian Pow, vice-president, research and equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.
“I still think there’s some potential for pretty good fallout in the U.S. in terms of housing prices and a recession. That said, there are other opportunities, other areas of the market that seem to be performing well.”
Pow said investors will be watching upcoming quarterly results from companies that are considered bellwethers to get a gauge of what the coming quarter will look like.
The energy and materials sectors gained 0.9 percent and 1.1 percent respectively. The industrials sector moved up 1.8 percent, with Finning International FTT.TO rising C$1.32, or 4.5 percent, to C$30.45, and SNC-Lavalin Group (SNC.TO) up C$1.51, or 3.3 percent, at C$47.87.
On the downside, the tech sector was off 1.2 percent. Research In Motion RIM.TO was down C$1.23, or 1 percent, at C$119.98, and Nortel Networks NT.TO slid 31 Canadian cents, or 3.9 percent, to C$7.59.
Market volume was 429 million shares worth C$6.9 billion. Advancers outpaced decliners 934 to 658. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed up 4.26 points, or 0.53 percent, at 808.06.
In New York, stocks ended little changed as worries over weaker corporate profits offset hopes the credit crisis is easing.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI nudged up 3.01 points, or 0.02 percent, at 12,612.43, while the Nasdaq composite index .IXIC dipped 6.15 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,364.83.
$1=$1.01 Canadian Editing by Rob Wilson