* TSX closes up 0.44 percent at 9,993.42
* Index up 2.36 percent for the week
* Materials gain 1.2 percent as metal prices firm (Adds details, quote, updates numbers)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, May 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed higher on Friday, but off early highs, as energy and materials issues got a lift from firmness in commodity prices.
The materials group, home to miners and fertilizer companies, gained 1.2 percent and led the TSX higher. The price of gold was steady, while industrial metals prices were mostly higher on the back of a weaker U.S. dollar and steady equity markets. [ID:nLM456762]
Fertilizer company Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) climbed 3.1 percent to C$127.80, while Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) rose 2 percent to C$56.58. Both were upgraded by Citigroup on Friday. [ID:nN22358625]
“We’re seeing some good performance on base metals and gold,” said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal. “That was holding the market up all day.”
“The story of the week has been the weak U.S. dollar. You just have to look at how the Canadian dollar is performing,” he added.
Analysts said the strength in the Canadian currency against the U.S. dollar was boosting sentiment for a broad range of Canadian assets.
“The Canadian dollar is absolutely on fire so it just seems like there’s some flows into the Canadian market, so that’s probably helping a little bit as well,” said Levente Mady, market strategist at Union Securities in Vancouver.
The Canadian dollar rose for a fourth straight session versus the U.S. dollar on Friday, spurred in part by market worries about the U.S. credit rating from rising government debt.
The S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE was up 43.83 points, or 0.44 percent, at 9,993.42, with seven of its 10 main groups higher. On the week, it was up 2.36 percent.
The energy sector added 1.1 percent as the price of oil CLc1 settled higher above $61 a barrel. [ID:nSP480156] Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose 2.2 percent to C$35.65, while Petro-Canada PCA.TO was up 2.6 percent at C$44.22.
The TSX has risen in three out of the four sessions in this holiday-shortened week. The market was closed on Monday for the Victoria Day holiday. The index is up about 30 percent from its March lows.
$1=$1.12 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway