April 28, 2008 / 2:01 PM / in 9 years

Buoyant oil prices bolster Toronto stocks

TORONTO, April 28 (Reuters) - Toronto stocks opened higher on Monday as energy shares benefited from another record price for U.S. crude oil and financial shares shrugged off a series of analysts downgrades.

Just after the open, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 45.92, or 0.3 percent, at 14,149.79.

Nine of the TSX index’s 10 main groups were higher, led by a 1 percent boost in the influential energy shares and a 0.7 percent rise in utility shares.

Energy shares got a boost as the price for U.S. crude oil CLc1 hit another record high near $120 a barrel amid supply disruptions in Nigeria and Scotland.

The sector was also lifted by takeover activity that saw French oil major Total (TOTF.PA) offer to buy Canada’s Synenco Energy Inc SYN.TO for about C$480 million. Synenco rose C$1.24 to C$9.03.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) added 65 Canadian cents to C$86.23 and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) gained 61 Canadian cents to C$58.52.

In the financial sector, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) rose 90 Canadian cents to C$72.40.

However, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) dropped 11 Canadian cents to C$48.20 after RBC analysts downgraded it to “underperform” from “sector perform.”

The broader gains were tempered by a 0.8 percent fall in the materials group as investors took profit in fertilizer shares, despite firm prices for soft commodities.

Potash Corp (POT.TO) dropped C$5.65 to C$204.75 and Agrium (AGU.TO) slipped C$3.25 to C$87.05. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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