UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks supported by resource shares

Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:38pm EDT
 
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(Updates with official closing numbers, adds detail)

TORONTO, April 14 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index climbed higher on Monday, propped up by robust energy shares that offset worries about the prospects for earnings season and further fallout from the credit crunch.

The energy and materials sectors were the only groups to push higher, amid a jump in the price of oil to a record close of $111.76 a barrel.

Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO rose C$3.93, or 5 percent, to C$82.32 and Imperial Oil IMO.TO added C$2.18, or 4 percent, to C$56.22, while the overall sector was up 2.6 percent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 55.57 points, or 0.41 percent, at 13,738.60, off of a session high of 13,775.08.

But U.S. bank Wachovia WB.N set a negative tone early in the day after it reported a surprise quarterly loss, hurt by surging credit problems from mortgages and other debt.

The unexpected miss, coming on the heels of a lower profit posted last week by bellwether General Electric GE.N, added to worries of a weak earnings season.

Financials on Bay Street were snagged in the negativity, with almost all of the major banks closing lower. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO shed C$1.38, or 2.1 percent, to C$65.89 and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO was down 66 Canadian cents, or 1.5 percent, at C$44.88. The group as a whole lost 1 percent.

The resource-laden materials sector added 0.6 percent, helped by advances by fertilizer companies Agrium AGU.TO and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO. Agrium jumped C$4.90, or 6.7 percent, to C$78.09, and Potash Corp rose C$2.66, or 1.5 percent, to C$185.35.

($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson)