CANADA STOCKS-Commodities drive TSX to near 2-wk high
* TSX rises 100.73 points, or 0.81 pct, to 12,605.58
* Materials up 1.3 pct, buoyed by gold and copper prices
* Index bounced back after weak U.S. data (Updates with details, comments)
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index rallied for a fourth straight session to touch its strongest point in nearly 2 weeks on Tuesday as stronger commodity prices boosted mining and energy stocks.
The heavyweight materials sector added 1.3 percent as gold prices surged 2.5 percent and copper rallied to its highest in almost a month on Chile supply concerns. [O/R] [MET/L]
"It's been faring well so far today on quite a strong commodity sector, from base metal to precious metal to energy," said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal.
"That's all despite some quite weak U.S. consumer confidence numbers."
U.S. consumer confidence crumbled in August to its lowest level in more than two years, sending Toronto stocks briefly into negative territory. [nN9E7H701P]
But the index soon shrugged off the losses, helped by rising oil prices that drove the energy sector up 0.27 percent. [O/R]
At 11:48 a.m. (1548 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 100.73 points, or 0.81 pct, to 12,605.58. It touched a session high of 12,622.02, the strongest level since August 17.
The index's gold mining subgroup added 1.5 percent, with Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) topping the list of influential gainers, rising 1 percent to C$49.51.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) followed, adding 0.75 percent to C$52.75 after reporting a quarterly profit rise of nearly 22 percent. [nN1E77T07J]
That helped buoy the financial sector into slightly positive territory even as Manulife Financial (MFC.TO: Quote), the index's heaviest laggard, fell 1.9 percent to C$13.04. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was off 0.6 percent to C$48.90.
Campeau said that the next focus for Canadian markets will be on Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) results out later this week and U.S. employment data on Friday.
Investors were also awaiting minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last committee meeting later on Tuesday which could offer more clues on divisions among board members over further stimulus measures. [nN1E77S1DG]
($1=$0.98 Canadian) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)
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