November 13, 2008 / 9:53 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Commodity stocks help TSX to big rally

*Benchmark index rises 4.8 percent

*Energy stocks up 7 pct as oil rises

*Materials shares rally 10 pct as gold price soars

*Loblaw rises 6 pct after quarterly results

* (Adds official closing numbers, details)

TORONTO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index soared toward the close on Thursday as energy and materials issues rose on higher commodity prices and on hopes the market is close to finding a bottom.

Before surging at the end of the day, the benchmark index had see-sawed in a 780-point range from trough to peak as it tried to find its footing.

Among heavily weighted stocks that helped the index move higher were EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), up 8.7 percent at C$58.11, and Goldcorp (G.TO), which rose 16.9 percent to C$27.99.

The index's energy sector rose 7 percent and the materials group soared 10 percent, supported by rises in oil [ID:nSYD383548] and gold prices. [ID:nLD637883]

"Today was a key day in the sense that the TSX came within 35 points of testing its previous low," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"Sentiment recently has been extremely bearish -- overwhelmingly bearish -- and when that happens the bears inevitably try to push the market to new lows if it's possible," he said.

"It's a technical thing. If the support levels hold it gives some confidence to investors that maybe, just maybe, we may have a short-term bottom here."

The benchmark index hit a low for the year of 8,537.34 on Oct. 27. The composite index fell nearly 17 percent in October and is down more than 35 percent from its June peak.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 430.21 points, or 4.82 percent, to 9,352.78, with all of the 10 main groups in positive territory.

For much of the day, the index was in the red, pushed down by heavily weighted stocks such as Research In Motion RIM.TO, which fought back to close flat at C$53.59.

Earlier, brokerages Raymond James and UBS cut their share-price targets for RIM. RIM said on Thursday the current market environment is rife with challenges and requires careful planning of strategy. [ID:N13365987]

Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) was also a drag on the index, down by 1.9 percent at C$22.90, but the financial sector overall finished 3.1 percent higher.

Loblaw Companies Ltd (L.TO) climbed 6.2 percent to C$28.60 after Canada's biggest supermarket chain reported higher quarterly profit, but it warned that the slowing economy could hold back performance for the remainder of the year. [ID:N13466147] ($1=$1.21 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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