UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks climb on robust resource shares

Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:38pm EDT
 
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(Updates to afternoon)

TORONTO, March 13 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index jumped higher on Thursday afternoon, recovering from an earlier drop with the help of soaring materials and energy issues that benefited from rising commodity prices.

Hope that an end to writedowns related to subprime mortgages was in sight also bolstered markets on both sides of the border, after a report from Standard & Poor's.

The subsector of gold producers climbed 2.7 percent, pulling its larger materials group up 2 percent, after U.S. gold futures broke $1,000 an ounce. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) was up C$1.76, or 3.5 percent, at C$51.91, and Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) rose C$1.16, or 2.7 percent, to C$43.75.

The heavyweight energy sector added to the rally, gaining 1.5 percent, while oil prices eased off new highs reached earlier in the day. Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) added C$1.87, or 1.8 percent, to C$107.00, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) pushed up C$1.89, or 2.6 percent, at C$74.03.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 84.61 points, or 0.64 percent, at 13,381.96 in the late afternoon with half of its 10 main sectors in positive territory.

In a see-saw session, the benchmark had fallen more than 100 points in the morning on persistent worries over the health of the U.S. economy and the implications for the global economy.

But Bay Street bounced into positive territory in the afternoon after a report from Standard & Poor's said the end to writedowns for large financial institutions is in sight even though the writedowns could add up to $285 billion.

The financial sector remained to the downside, sliding 0.8 percent. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) was off 55 Canadian cents, or 0.9 percent, at C$63.09, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) dipped 61 Canadian cents, or 1 percent, to C$61.25.

On the earnings front, shares of Transcontinental Inc (TCLa.TO: Quote) advanced C$1.97, or 12.9 percent, to C$17.24 after the commercial printer posted higher first-quarter profit as revenue rose despite the strong Canadian dollar.

($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Jonathan Spicer) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)