UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks rebound higher on resources

Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:22pm EST
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(Updates numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO Feb 20 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index shrugged off earlier losses to rally higher on Wednesday, led by climbing resource issues amid record-setting oil prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 50.79 points, or 0.38 percent, at 13,498.53 early in the afternoon, with six of its 10 main sectors in positive territory.

The energy sector, which makes up about 25 percent of the index, rose 0.4 percent after crude futures climbed back to again set record highs above $100 a barrel, before easing to $99.96.

Crude touched a record above $100 a barrel on Wednesday, which helped the TSX vault more than 200 points.

On Wednesday, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) was up 91 Canadian cents, or 1.3 percent, at C$68.96 and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) rose 43 Canadian cents, or 0.8 percent, to C$54.65.

The materials sector, home to resource shares, gained traction while gold reversed course to move higher. The group was up 0.6 percent, while Agrium Inc (AGU.TO: Quote) rose C$2.13, or 3.1 percent, to C$71.13 and Inmet Mining IMN.TO added C$2.45, or 3.1 percent, to C$80.45. The subindex of gold producers edged up 0.3 percent.

The benchmark index had fallen more than 100 points just after the open, hurt by weaker commodity prices and higher than expected consumer price index in the United States.

The U.S. CPI was up 0.4 percent in January, for a second straight month, suggesting persistent inflation and stoking worries the Federal Reserve will not be able to cut interest rates further.   Continued...