UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks lifted by oil, hopes for US bailout

Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:46pm EDT
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*TSX ends with small gain as energy shares strengthen

*U.S. looks near final deal on bailout proposal

*Shares of gold producers fall along with bullion price (Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, Sept 25 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index logged a small gain on Thursday as oils strengthened and financials rose as the U.S. Congress appeared close to an agreement on a financial industry bailout plan, but gains were dampened by weak gold producers.

Financial shares rose 1.5 percent as a deal on the $700 billion U.S. plan looked close. For more details, see [ID:nSP335584]. In the group, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) was up 2.7 percent at C$64.00.

The heavyweight energy sector buoyed the market, taking a cue from oil prices, which also rose on optimism over the U.S. bailout. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) was up 2.4 percent at C$84.15, while the group rose 1.5 percent.

"We're still going through the obligatory political posturing by the various politicians there until they finally decide that they're going to write this thing into law," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd., in Calgary, Alberta.

"The general undertone right now ... is that this has got to be done because if you don't do it, we're dead," he added.

After another choppy session, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 33.15 points, or 0.26 percent, at 12,546.51 with seven of its 10 main sectors pushing higher.   Continued...