CANADA STOCKS-TSX decline cushioned by soaring energy

Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:00am EST
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* TSX dips 7.28 points to 14,115.83

* Energy sector is lone riser, up 2.3 pct (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, Feb 22 (Reuters) -Toronto's main stock index was little changed on Tuesday morning as energy shares surged on a big jump in oil prices, limiting heavy declines across most of the rest of the market.

Fears that intensifying political tension in Libya, the third largest oil producer in Africa, could disrupt global economic growth boosted oil prices more than 5 percent, lighting a fire under the index's oil and gas shares, which rose 2 3 percent.

Both Brent LCOc1 and U.S. crude oil CLc2 rallied to 2-1/2 year highs on concerns the revolt in Libya could spread to other major oil producers, while gold prices steadied above $1,400 an ounce. [O/R] [GOL/]

"There's some reaction to the idea that these high oil prices could choke off the recovery to some extent," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung & Co Investment Counsel.

"The only sector that's positive in Canada is energy, although gold is doing fairly well."

Top blue-chip gainers were almost universally from the energy group. Safe-haven gold issues were also strong gainers, helping to cushion the slide in the index's materials group, which fell 0.4 percent.   Continued...