UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks get boost from commodities

Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:27am EST
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(Updates stock movement, adds details, quote)

TORONTO Dec 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index was solidly higher on Monday morning, lifted by commodities and extending Friday's rally in a shortened session ahead of the Christmas holidays.

The market's commodities-heavy materials group gained 1.5 percent, pulled higher by fertilizer producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO, which gained C$3.42, or 2.6 percent, to C$134.56.

Shares of gold miners moved higher as the bullion price steadied. Barrick Gold ABX.TO rose 56 Canadian cents, or 1.5 percent, to C$39.18.

Financial shares edged up 0.6 percent after a Canadian investor group said on the weekend that it had agreed in principle to restructure about C$33 billion ($33.3 billion) of nonbank asset-backed commercial paper.

Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO rose 40 Canadian cents, or 0.6 percent, to C$69.62, and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO gained 61 Canadian cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$50.74.

"It's kind of a follow-through from Friday, which is good," said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd "Maybe we will get a little Santa Claus rally here."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 84.63 points, or 0.62 percent, at 13,680.72 shortly after the open.

The index added nearly 200 points on Friday, pulled higher by a surge in Research In Motion RIM.TO. On Monday, the BlackBerry-maker was up 51 Canadian cents, or 0.4 percent, at C$118.08 after dipping at the open.

Energy shares rose 0.5 percent even though oil prices stumbled. Petro-Canada PCA.TO climbed 17 Canadian cents, or 0.3 percent, to C$51.79, while Suncor Energy SU.TO was up 29 Canadian cents, or 0.3 percent, at C$106.35.

Activity was expected to be light for the rest of Monday as the market will close at 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) for the Christmas holidays. ($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)