CANADA STOCKS-Toronto index soars on commodity strength

Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:19pm EST
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* TSX climbs 3.9 percent in resource-led rally

* Materials and energy stocks make biggest gains

CALGARY, Alberta Dec 29 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index jumped nearly 4 percent on Monday, led by resource producers, as oil and gold prices rallied on Middle East violence.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 326.74 points, or 3.9 percent, to close at 8,637.29.

Among big gainers were shares in miners Barrick Gold ABX.TO and Goldcorp G.TO, both up more than 10 percent, and oil producers Nexen Inc NXY.TO and Petro-Canada PCA.TO, which climbed 7 percent and 6 percent respectively.

They helped lift the materials subgroup 10.2 percent and the energy producers 5.7 percent. All 10 of the TSX's main sectors finished higher on the day.

"Everything goes in tandem with it. You get one or two of the big names up, and everybody else likes to follow suit a little bit," said portfolio manager Adrian Mastracci of KCM Wealth Management in Vancouver.

"But I think it's short term. If anybody had to, I think I would be selling some things as opposed to buying some things right now."

Commodity prices rallied on concerns that Israeli air attacks on Gaza in the third day of a deadly offensive could lead to disruptions in crude supplies from the Middle East.   Continued...