Toronto stocks rise on oil but financials weaken

Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:03pm EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index finished more than 100 points higher on Monday as record oil prices bolstered resources and energy shares, offsetting a weak showing by financial services shares on persistent concerns about the credit crunch.

U.S. crude charged to a new high of $143.67 before settling lower, providing renewed fuel for the shares of Canada's energy companies.

"That seems to be the culprit today for sure," Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management Inc, said of the price of crude.

"There's not a lot of excess supply, so if anything goes offline even temporarily -- bingo," he said, adding speculators also help drive prices higher.

Overall, five of the 10 main sectors of the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE recorded gains in the session, including energy and the resource-heavy materials group, which added 1.75 percent and 1.74 percent respectively.

Oil and gas powerhouse EnCana Corp ECA.TO rose C$3.51, or 3.9 percent, to close at C$93.36, and Petro-Canada PCA.TO added C$1.86, or 3.4 percent, to end at C$57.11.

Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO rose C$1.94, or 2.6 percent, to finish at C$76.49.

"The gold and silver sector has been quite strong the last few days and to see it carry on into today and into the next month certainly wouldn't surprise me," said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.   Continued...

<p>A general view of the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>