CANADA STOCKS-Oils help TSX extend rally to 2-1/2 yr highs

Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:06pm EST
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   * TSX up 76.97 points, or 0.55 percent, at 14,136.15
 * Six of the 10 main groups finish higher
 * Energy stocks up 1.31 percent
 (Updates with details, comments)
 By Solarina Ho
 TORONTO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed higher on Thursday, extending its recent rally to levels
not seen since early July 2008, as rising U.S. crude futures
provided support for energy stocks.
 Suncor Energy SU.TO led the charge, rising 2.37 percent
to C$44.48, and fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources
CNQ.TO rose 1.46 percent to C$47.23.
 The index's energy group gained 1.31 percent overall as
U.S. crude futures climbed sharply as protests in oil-producing
regions kept concerns over supply disruptions in focus. [O/R]
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed up 76.97 points, or 0.55 percent, at
 "It's the second day that we're closing over 14,000 in the
last 2-1/2 years," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist
at Global Securities.
 "The strength of the TSX has certainly been quite
remarkable. But, it's a global trend, it's not just the TSX
moving up in isolation."
 Financial stocks, which make up nearly 30 percent of the
index, were up 0.57 percent as most of the big banks advanced.
Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO led with a 1.3 percent climb to
 The group's gains were held back by a 2.62 percent drop in
Sun Life Financial SLF.TO to C$33.02. Canada's No. 3 insurer
reported earnings that missed analysts' expectations after the
market close on Wednesday. [ID:nN17115214] [ID:nN16243387]
 Diversified miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO was among the
biggest decliners, falling 2.87 percent to C$55.87, tracking
copper prices. Copper fell from record highs to a three-week
low on inflation worries and as demand-crimping prices cooled
sentiment. [MET/L]
 "There's some tendency for investors to take profits on
some of these big names that have done extremely well in recent
months," Picardo said.
 "There's a little bit of skittishness about where commodity
prices will go from here, so I think that could be the normal
course of profit-taking."
 Agnico Eagle AEM.TO shed 4.85 percent to C$71.73 and
Kinross Gold K.TO dropped 2.33 percent to C$16.37 after both
gold miners reported lower than expected quarterly earnings
late on Wednesday. [ID:nN16257028]
 Barrick Gold ABX.TO, which posted a better-than-expected
quarterly profit, was another key gainer, rising 1.9 percent to
C$49.91. [ID:nN17277324]
 A number of other gold miners saw gains as prices for the
safe haven precious metal climbed for a fourth day, stoked by
inflation worries and flaring Middle East tensions. [GOL/]
 The index's materials group, home to miners, was flat,
closing down just 0.01 percent.
  ($1=$0.98 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway)