* TSX closes up 129.86 points, or 1.04 pct, at 12,634.71
* Materials up 1.9 pct, buoyed by gold
* U.S. FOMC minutes buoy sentiment (Updates with details, comments)
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rallied for a fourth day on Tuesday, reaching its strongest point in nearly two weeks, as rising commodity prices propelled resource-based shares higher.
The heavyweight materials sector, which includes mining shares, added 1.9 percent as gold prices surged more than 2 percent and copper rallied to its highest in almost a month on Chile supply concerns. [GOL/][MET/L]
Energy issues added 1.2 percent as Brent crude rose for a sixth straight session to a four-week high. [O/R]
“The commodities seem to have righted themselves from their anxiety over the economic slowdown potential,” said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.
The index added to early gains after minutes from the last Federal Reserve rate-setting meeting boosted expectations the U.S. central bank will try to do more to stimulate the economy. [ID:nW1E7IR01J]
“There’s increasing talk of some more stimulus,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
“The market’s interpreting that to mean QE3 in some shape or form, and you’re seeing gold take off on the back of that, and the oil producers are going along for the ride as well.”
Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), up 1.6 percent at C$49.76, and Suncor Energy (SU.TO), up 1.5 percent at C$31.02, were among the index’s heaviest gainers.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 129.86 points, or 1.04 percent, at 12,634.71. It touched a session high of 12,664.72, its strongest since Aug. 17.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) helped boost the financial sector, which rose 0.7 percent, after it reported a quarterly profit rise of nearly 22 percent on Tuesday. The Canadian bank was the most influential gainer on the index, adding 2.2 percent to C$53.50. [nN1E77T07J]
“Other than (Royal Bank of Canada) that is off a little bit, the banks obviously responded reasonably well to the Scotia earnings,” added Hand. Royal Bank of Canada fell 0.5 percent to C$48.93, and was the heaviest decliner.
Research in Motion RIM.TO was top advancer, jumping 6.4 percent to C$31.91. The BlackBerry maker’s stock also made strong gains on Monday and Friday.
“One of the biggest factors is general sentiment for beaten down stocks, investors are in the mood for bargain hunting,” Picardo said. (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)