CANADA STOCKS-Commodities keep Toronto index up

Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:44am EST
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* TSX ahead 45 points or 0.5 percent

* Energy group gains as oil edges above $55 a barrel

* TransCanada among big net loss decliners, down 5 percent

TORONTO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index climbed in choppy action on Tuesday as the influential, and recently battered, oil and gas sector gained along with a firmer price of oil.

The energy group climbed 1.2 percent as crude edged above $55 a barrel, after bouncing off another near-22 month low. [ID:nN181474]

The heavily weighted materials and financial groups were also higher, helping keep the overall index in positive territory after it briefly turned negative.

"It's been choppy the last four or five sessions. There's low volume with high volatility," said Francis Campeau, A broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal.

He said volatility may keep some players on the sidelines for a while before they jump back into equities.

"The challenge is to know how much bad news is priced in and what is not," Campeau said.   Continued...