UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks surge on robust resources

Thu May 8, 2008 5:06pm EDT
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(Adds comments, details, updated closing numbers)

TORONTO May 8 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index surged late to finish the session up more than 200 points on Thursday as rising commodity prices prices lit a fire under shares of gold and energy producers.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 236.46 points, or 1.65 percent, to close at 14,607.99.

Nine of the 10 TSX subgroups rose during the session, led by a 3.03 gain among energy stocks and a 3.36 percent surge in materials issues, particularly among mining companies.

"We were led by the traditional leaders in Canada, the energy, golds and mines," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier.

Crude oil prices surged to a fourth-straight record high during the session, pushing above $124 a barrel and igniting shares of heavyweight producers such as Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), which rose 4.6 percent to C$96, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), up 4.3 percent at C$126.25.

Top gold producer Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) leaped 4.6 percent to C$41.00 as bullion prices charged above $880 an ounce.

Despite widespread worries about the economy, the Canadian market has been charging higher since March, and is now within striking distance of its record high of 14,646.82, hit last July.

Nakamoto said equity investors have been calmed by actions of the Canadian and U.S. central banks, which have steadily cut interest rates as economic figures have weakened.   Continued...