UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks eke out gain on resource strength

Wed Apr 9, 2008 5:20pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended slightly higher on Wednesday, as nagging worries over fallout from the credit crunch offset strong resource issues, as oil surged to a record high.

The energy sector, which makes up about 30 percent of the index, kept the TSX above the break-even mark as crude settled up $2.37 at $110.87 a barrel, after earlier jumping as high as $112.21, on news of a sharp drop in U.S. inventories.

Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO provided the biggest lift as it rose C$3.09, or 4.1 percent, to C$78.12. Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO was up C$1.85, or 4.4 percent, at C$43.75 and the whole sector gained 2.2 percent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 23.02 points, or 0.17 percent, at 13,750.55, but only four of its 10 main sectors moved higher.

The benchmark remained range-bound for much of the day, stung by weak financials, with economic worries dragging the sector down 1.2 percent.

Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO fell 97 Canadian cents, or 1.5 percent, to C$62.40 and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO slipped 72 Canadian cents, or 1.5 percent, to C$45.94.

"The main credit problem is still with us, the housing problem is still with us, the question of whether or not the U.S. is in recession is still with us," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.   Continued...