UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks jump 300 points on commodity rally

Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:18pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, March 25 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index pushed higher for a third successive session on Tuesday with a rebound in commodity prices powering it to a 300-point gain.

A rally in the price of gold helped make miners among the biggest winners on the index, with Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) up C$3.95, or 5.9 percent, at C$71.39, and Goldcorp (G.TO: Quote) up C$2.68, or 7.1 percent, at C$40.70. The subindex of gold producers jumped 4.8 percent.

Also in the resource sector, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) rose C$5.33, or 3.5 percent, to C$159.34, while the materials group as a whole rose 4.4 percent.

The large energy group also buoyed the benchmark as oil prices edged up after a choppy session. The sector was up 2.8 percent, with Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) gaining C$3.87, or 4.1 percent, to C$98.89, and EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) rising C$1.91, or 2.6 percent, to C$75.25.

The benchmark index, which is heavily weighted to the resource side, was stung last week by a steep selloff in commodities as fallout from the credit squeeze continued to spread.

Gavin Graham, chief investment officer at Guardian Group of Funds, said that the recent selloff was to be expected "given how rapidly all the hard assets had gone up in the last half of February (and) first half of March."

"I think if you look at some of the commentators who have been longer-term U.S. dollar bears and commodity bulls, they were stating that even with the selloff ... you should expect these types of rapid pullbacks in a longer-term bull market and that the long-term fundamentals still remain pretty attractive."   Continued...