UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rise on firm energy shares

Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:31am EDT
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(Updates trading, adds details)

TORONTO, April 14 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index pushed higher on Monday morning, propelled by strong energy shares that offset concern over further fallout from the credit crisis.

The oil and gas sector led gains as oil prices bounced amid supply disruptions in the United States and Nigeria. Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was up C$2.29, or 2.9 percent, at C$80.68, and Suncor Energy SU.TO rose C$2.16, or 2 percent, to C$108.98. The overall sector added 1.6 percent.

After a soft start, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 57.95 points, or 0.42 percent, at 13,740.98, with seven of its 10 main sectors higher.

The materials sector, home to resource shares, climbed amid gains in fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO and Agrium AGU.TO. Potash Corp was up C$4.07, or 2.2 percent, at C$186.76, and Agrium gained C$3.13, or 4.3 percent, to C$76.32, while the sector rose 0.6 percent.

A solid second-quarter earnings report helped broadcaster Astral Media ACMa.TO rise 29 Canadian cents, or 0.8 percent, to C$36.35. Profits were buoyed by its purchase of Standard Radio.

But the financial sector led declines, off 0.5 percent as it got caught in fallout from the credit squeeze south of the border after Wachovia Corp <WB.N reported an unexpected first-quarter loss.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO slid 89 Canadian cents, or 1.3 percent, to C$66.38, and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO gave up 53 Canadian cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$45.01.

Shares of Vasogen VAS.TO dived 18 Canadian cents, or 24.7 percent, to 55 Canadian cents after it said it will slash its staff by 85 percent and suspend funding new studies for its Celacade heart failure treatment, while it moves focus to a new areas of drugs.

($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum)