Buoyant oil prices bolster Toronto stocks

Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:00am EDT
 
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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: Quote) 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: Quote) added 65 Canadian cents to C$86.23 and Imperial Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) gained 61 Canadian cents to C$58.52.

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

However, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) 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: Quote) dropped C$5.65 to C$204.75 and Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) slipped C$3.25 to C$87.05. ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Bernadette Baum)