CANADA STOCKS-Toronto index rises as energy, financials help

Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:13pm EST
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*Toronto stock market finishes 0.5 percent higher

*Gains come even as oil drops to 22-month low

*Economic pall continues to hang over investors

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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The malaise hanging over global equity markets eased on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as a volatile session ended with the benchmark index nosing into positive territory as energy and financial stocks edged higher.

The session finished with a slight gain, which pales in comparison to the magnitude of losses experienced by the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE since the start of the year, even as investor remained focus on the global financial crisis and the related fallout.

The gains made by energy and financials were offset by a decline in the materials sector, which sagged as the price of gold moved lower.

An upbeat earnings report by computer maker Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N: Quote) also boosted the mood of U.S. investors, driving the Dow Jones industrial average higher and soothing fears of deepening economic gloom at least for now.   Continued...