UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks hit record near 15,000 mark

Fri May 16, 2008 4:32pm EDT
 
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(Adds details, comments, official closing numbers)

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO May 16 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index hit another record high on Friday as energy and materials shares rose on strong commodities and powered the composite to a level just shy of the 15,000 mark.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 156.14 points, or 1.05 percent, to close at 14,984.20.

Even though seven of the benchmark's 10 main groups ended lower, the heavyweight energy and materials sectors surged higher, gaining 2.94 percent and 1.79 percent, respectively.

The advances came as U.S. crude oil futures rose sharply to settle above $126 per barrel for the first time and U.S. gold futures ended 2.3 percent higher at just below $900 an ounce.

"Today was just one of those days when the commodities ... had a very good day," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

The commodity strength gave a lift to energy companies like Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), which added C$3.61, or 3.7 percent, to finish at C$101.86. Husky Energy (HSE.TO: Quote) rose C$2.32, or 4.7 percent, to close at C$51.94.

Among gold firms, Royal Gold Inc RGL.TO rose C$2.24, or 7.8 percent, to end at C$30.99. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) rose C$1.13, or 2.9 percent, to C$40.18.

"Investor confidence may not have been restored in everything, because the banks are still a lot lower than they were a year ago, but people are continuing to pile into the things that have been working," said Gavin Graham, chief investment officer at Guardian Group of Funds. ($1=$1 Canadian) (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)