February 19, 2008 / 3:11 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks jump on commodities, shrug off BMO

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TORONTO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index jumped more than 200 points on Tuesday as firm commodity prices helped investors shrug off further charges at Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO).

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 175.48 points, or 1.3 percent, at 13,402.24 after touching a high of 14,434.52 at the open.

All 10 of the TSX index's main groups rose, led by a 2.2 percent boost in the influential energy group and a 2.8 percent jump in the resource-heavy materials group. The gold subgroup was up 3.5 percent.

"Commodities are quite strong and that is obviously going to keep a bid in certain sectors of the Canadian market," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

"Still it's a very emotional market predicated on the issues predominantly on the credit, subprime and CDO (collateralized debt obligations) mess in the U.S."

Energy shares climbed with U.S. crude oil prices which rose 2.9 percent to $98.26 a barrel on supply worries sparked by an ongoing feud between Venezuela and Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and word that OPEC is not expected to boost supply.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained C$2.96 to C$68.06 and Nexen Inc added 53 Canadian cents to C$29.37.

Metal shares were underpinned by firm precious metal prices including another record high for platinum and rising gold prices which touched a week high above $923 an ounce.

Barrick Gold rose C$1.54 to C$49.55 and Goldcorp (G.TO) added 87 Canadian cents to C$38.06.

Goldcorp, the country's second-biggest gold miner said reserves grew nine percent and silver reserves jumped 37 percent last year, and the company plans to invest an extra $150 million in exploration in 2008.

Investors shrugged off further bad news from a Canadian bank, and the heavily weighted sector rose 0.5 percent.

Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) said it would take a charge of about 70 Canadian cents per share in the first quarter.

The charges include C$490 million, before tax, for certain trading activities and valuation adjustments in BMO Capital Markets, and C$60 million related to an increase in the general allowance for credit losses. BMO was off 19 Canadian cents at C$53.64.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country's biggest bank, added 59 Canadian cents to C$50.41. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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