UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks boosted by resources, jobs data

Fri Feb 8, 2008 11:15am EST
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(Updates numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO Feb 8 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index gained ground on Friday morning, lifted by rosy economic data and support from resource shares as commodity prices climbed.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 72.36 points, or 0.56 percent, at 12,997.73 with seven of its 10 main groups in positive territory.

Gains in key commodity prices gave the index some support, as the energy and materials sectors moved up 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. The gold producers subsector gained 1.5 percent.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) rose C$2.07, or 2.2 percent, to C$95.12, while Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) added C$1.84, or 3 percent, to C$63.24.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada said 46,400 jobs were created in January, while the unemployment rate fell to a 33-year low of 5.8 percent, alleviating worries of a slowdown.

"It's kind of amazing that in Canada we seem to keep going our own way," said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities. "We're marching to a different drummer obviously, but that could be short term."

Better-than-expected housing starts for January also added to the economic picture and helped put some cheer into the index.

But investors still had an eye on news south of the border, amid more worries over the health of bond insurers. Fears of a slowdown also weighed after a U.S. Federal Reserve official said a recession might not be avoidable.   Continued...