UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks rally back with 300-point gain

Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:40pm EDT
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(Updates to midday)

TORONTO, March 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index surged more than 300 points on Monday in an across-the-board rally led by a strong bounce in resource and bank shares.

Investors picked up shares that were battered down by a sharp selloff in commodities the previous week due to deepening worries over more fallout from the credit crunch.

A rebound in resource stocks led the way up on Monday, with the energy and materials sectors gaining 2.2 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was up C$2.84, or 3 percent, at C$98.10, while in the materials group, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) rose C$7.73, or 5.2 percent, to C$155.30.

"(In) the big runup we had in energy prices, we did not see a similar rise in energy equities," said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management Inc.

"So, even if we get some firming of oil prices at levels well above the $75 that a lot of analysts are using as their long-term strategy for oil, then there's good value in the sector."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 319.67 points, or 2.5 percent, at 13,095.31 at midday with all 10 of its main sectors higher. It lost more than 3 percent the previous week.

The banking sector gained 3.3 percent as investors saw value in stocks that have been beaten down by concerns over troubles in financial markets.   Continued...