UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks gain ground as commodities firm

Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:34am EST
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TORONTO Dec 18 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index jumped more than 100 points on Tuesday, recovering some of the ground lost during Monday's steep sell-off, bolstered by firm commodity prices.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 104.38 points, or 0.8 percent, at 13,491.49 after touching as high as 13,535.93 earlier in the day.

This followed a drop of 287 points on Monday on the back of weak resource issues and worries over the state of the U.S. economy.

"After the last day or so, we have people coming in looking for bargains. We have seen a lot of tax loss selling driving down prices this year, so people are probably looking for opportunities to jump in ahead of what they might perceive as a rush in January," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung and Co Investment Counsel.

All 10 of the TSX index's main groups were higher, led by a 1.4 percent boost from the influential energy group and a 1.8 percent boost from the resource-heavy materials group. The utilities group was up 0.8 percent.

Energy shares climbed with U.S. crude oil prices, which rose 2 percent to $92.40 a barrel after Turkish troops crossed into Kurdish territory in northern Iraq, escalating tensions.

Among the big oil companies on the rise were Suncor Energy SU.TO, which added C$1.67 to C$104.45 and Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO, which gained C$1.29 to C$69.56.

Meanwhile, gold shares underpinned the material group's rise, as the precious metal climbed more than 1 percent to move above $800 an ounce while platinum, its richer cousin, jumped 1.7 percent to a record high of $1,519 an ounce.

Barrick Gold ABX.TO, the biggest producer in the world, climbed 87 Canadian cents to C$38.54 and Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO added C$1.51 to C$47.81. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)