Toronto stocks surge 220 pts on golds and oils

Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:12pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index soared more than 200 points on Tuesday, lifted by robust resource issues and record-setting oil prices.

Gains in gold, platinum and other commodities helped push the index higher, as the materials sector jumped 4.9 percent and the gold-producers subindex surged 6.1 percent.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) was up C$7.90, or 5.3 percent, at C$157.25. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) rose C$3.80, or 6 percent, to C$67.00, while the price of gold was boosted by a weaker U.S. dollar.

In the energy sector, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) helped lead the rally, gaining C$2.95, or 4.5 percent, to C$68.05, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) rose C$2.73, or 2.8 percent, to C$99.59. The group as a whole, which makes up about 25 percent of the main index, added 2.1 percent.

Oil prices climbed more than 4 percent to hit a record high of $100.10 a barrel, before settling at $100.01 amid expectations of tight supplies.

"The energy shares and golds are the big drivers today," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada. "The oils in particular are posting some big gains."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 220.98 points, or 1.67 percent, at 13,447.74, with six of its 10 main groups higher. But it was the resource sectors that provided the lion's share of the day's strength.

"There has been pent-up demand for the commodities (issues) because they have been trading sideways for a while now, despite the fact that prices have been sustained at fairly high levels," said Elvis Picardo, investment strategist at Northern Securities Inc. in Vancouver.   Continued...