UPDATE 4-Toronto stock index rides oil surge above 15,000

Tue May 20, 2008 5:39pm EDT
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(Adds details, quotes)

*Index closes above 15,000 for first time

*Supported by shares in energy and gold producers

*Shares of BCE Inc fall amid concerns over its buyout

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, May 20 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index finished above 15,000 for the first time on Tuesday, propelled by a surge in energy and gold producers amid a continuing run-up in oil prices.

Oil and gas companies were among the biggest advancers by weight with Suncor Energy SU.TO up C$4.84, or 7.2 percent, at C$72.37, and Imperial Oil IMO.TO climbing C$4.27, or 7.5 percent, to C$60.95.

The sector overall bounded up 3.1 percent, while oil, a key underlying commodity for the resource-heavy TSX, extended its red-hot advance, coming close to $130 a barrel. Crude was lifted by bullish price forecasts and growing worries over tight global stockpiles.

"I think there's a real rethinking among investors - all of a sudden they're thinking maybe the $125 oil price is floor rather than ceiling" said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.   Continued...