UPDATE 2-Robust energy firms help Toronto stocks rally

Tue May 20, 2008 1:58pm EDT
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(Updates to early afternoon)

*Toronto index bounces higher after morning losses

*Rises above 15,000 for first time

*Energy shares buoy index amid record high oil prices

TORONTO, May 20 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index climbed further into record territory on Tuesday, thanks to soaring oil prices which boosted energy shares.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) jumped C$4.88, or 7.2 percent, to C$72.41, while Imperial Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) rose C$4.33, or 7.6 percent, to C$61.01.

Overall, the sector, which accounts for almost 30 percent of the index, gained 3 percent, as the price of oil hit a new high near $130 a barrel amid bullish price forecasts and tight supplies of refined products.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 96.56 points, or 0.64 percent, at 15,080.76, after hitting an intraday high of 15,090.74. In volatile trading, the benchmark passed 15,000 for the first time shortly after the open, before dropping to as low as 14,914.85.

Shares of Petrobank Energy and Resources PBG.TO jumped C$2.90, or 5.2 percent, to C$58.36 after a report that India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC.BO: Quote) was getting ready to make a bid for a Canadian oil producer. A Petrobank executive dismissed speculation his company was the target.   Continued...