UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks edge higher on boost from resources

Wed Apr 9, 2008 11:10am EDT
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(Updates to midmorning)

TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index pushed slightly higher on Wednesday morning as resource shares strengthened on a bounce in commodity prices.

Oil company Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was among the biggest gainers, up C$1.44, or 1.9 percent, at C$76.47, while Suncor Energy SU.TO added 83 Canadian cents, or 0.8 percent, to C$106.20. The energy group was up 1.8 percent, lifted by a bounce in crude prices.

Shares of gold-mining and other resource companies also supported the index, with the materials sector gaining 1.1 percent. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO was up C$1.13, or 0.6 percent, at C$179.40, and Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO rose C$1.24, or 1.8 percent, to C$70.60. The gold producers subindex moved up 2.2 percent, lifted by an uptick in bullion prices.

But declines in banking shares hampered the index as Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO fell 80 Canadian cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$67.20, and National Bank of Canada NA.TO was off 82 Canadian cents, or 1.7 percent, at C$48.95. The overall sector was down 1.2 percent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 31.62 points, or 0.23 percent, at 13,759.15 with three of its 10 main sectors higher.

The industrials and utilities sectors both gave up 0.8 percent.

The benchmark has closed higher in six out of the past eight sessions, buoyed by an improvement in sentiment, but analysts have remained cautious.

"I still think there's a fair bit of skepticism that this move up may be more of a fake rally, so I think there's still a lot of work to do in terms of confidence building," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.   Continued...