CANADA STOCKS-TSX trims early gains, commodities support

Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:23am EST
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* Oil price rises on tensions in the Mideast

* Materials forge ahead nearly 9 percent

* Half of sectors hand back early gains

TORONTO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose 2.2 percent on Monday, bolstered by strength in the materials and energy sectors as tensions in the Middle East supported oil and gold prices.

The energy group rose 3.6 percent as Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip raised concerns that increased tensions throughout the region could disrupt crude supplies from the Middle East.

Oil prices were around $39 a barrel, after vaulting above $40 earlier. See [ID:nSIN417179]. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) rose 4.3 percent to C$45.14.

The materials group also advanced, surging 8.9 percent as shares tracked oil prices. Among the top net gainers were fertilizer company Potash Corp (POT.TO: Quote), which rose 7.9 percent to C$88.14, and miner Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO: Quote), which rose 10.4 percent to C$62.25.

"Tax-loss selling is over for Canadians so we're having a little bit of a rebound, obviously led by the commodities," said Sal Masionis, a stockbroker at Brant Securities.

The deadline for tax-loss selling -- where investors realize losses on securities to offset capital gains taxes -- was Dec. 24 for the 2008 tax year.   Continued...