UPDATE 3-Toronto stock index up 1.5 pct on commodities

Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:38pm EDT
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*U.S.-Russia tension drives oil price higher

*Materials shares up as metal prices rise

*Nortel buys online voice technology firm

(Adds details)

TORONTO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was sharply higher at midday on Thursday as energy and materials shares climbed with commodities prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 188.93 points, or 1.4 percent, at 13,539.06, with seven of its 10 main groups higher. On Wednesday, the index gained 2 percent, helped by a surge in resource stocks.

The heavyweight energy and materials groups again led the way up on Thursday, rising 2.4 percent and 3.9 percent respectively. In the oil patch, Husky Energy (HSE.TO: Quote) rose 4.6 percent to C$48.90.

Copper miner First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote) soared 5.6 percent to C$73.37, while Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) rose 5.9 percent to C$37.81.

U.S. oil edged above $120 a barrel, up for a third straight session, as Washington's missile shield deal with Poland angered Russia, heightening tension. See [ID:nSP213151]   Continued...