CANADA STOCKS-Commodities, US economy relief push TSX up

Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:28am EDT
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* Energy issues up but off highs as crude falls

* Barrick up with gold prices, posts 26 pct drop in profit

* Relief on smaller-than-expected U.S. GDP contraction

TORONTO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index jumped 2.2 percent at the open on Thursday, supported by higher commodity prices and by relief that the U.S. economy did not contract as much as expected in the third quarter.

Preliminary data for U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product showed the economy shrank 0.3 percent in the quarter, against the 0.5 percent drop forecast by economists [ID:nN29534671], adding to positive sentiment seen in Asian and European stock markets.

Shortly after 10 a.m., the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 127.59 points, or 1.34 percent, at 9,629.15.

"The appetite for risk is slowly coming back onto the market. It shows that the measures, or the panic, is fading a bit," said Francis Campeau, broker at MF Global Canada, in Montreal.

The oil and gas sector climbed 0.78 percent even though the oil price of came off early highs and eased below $67 a barrel [ID:nN30533353]. The materials sector found strength in the rising price of gold and firmer prices for other metals.

The gold subindex was up 1.7 percent as a weaker U.S. dollar helped lift the price of the precious metal almost 3 percent to a one-week high. [ID:nLU573299]

Barrick Gold ABX.TO was up 1.7 percent at C$28.38 on gold prices. Earlier Barrick, the world's top gold miner, reported a 26 percent drop in third-quarter profit. [ID:nN30530785]

($1=$1.20 Canadian) (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Peter Galloway)