May 30, 2008 / 1:08 PM / in 9 years

Toronto stocks seen rising, to finish May higher

*Oil hits economy, but seen helping stocks

*Gold, gas also rise

*Teck Cominco restarts lead refinery

TORONTO, May 30 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was set to bounce back on Friday, recovering from the previous day’s fall as commodities firmed and world stock markets headed into the weekend higher.

The Canadian benchmark looked set to finish its second straight positive month on a winning note, despite data that showed the country’s GDP slipped in the quarter for the first time in nearly five years. See: [nOTT001299]

The economy’s growth slowed mostly because of rising energy prices, which have helped to boost the resource-heavy TSX in recent months.

With crude futures up about 80 cents a barrel on Friday, energy-producing firms -- which account for about 30 percent of the overall index -- were set to rise.

“Until we see a really hard break in commodities, especially oil, it’s a pretty fair statement to say the market doesn’t have a catalyst to fall back like it normally does this time of year,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“The index is bucking a seasonal trend.”

Gold and natural gas were also higher, another good sign for the stock market.

In the financial sector, where most of the big banks revealed their quarterly earnings this week, ratings firm UBS raised its price target for Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO), and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO).

Asian and European markets, as well as U.S. stock futures, were higher on Friday on the back of rosy earnings and easing inflation concerns.

Canada’s Teck Cominco TCKb.TO, meanwhile, could attract attention after the diversified miner said it restarted its Trail lead refinery following a temporary shutdown. See: [nN29409517]

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 14,577.17 after falling 111.45 points, or 0.8 percent, in the previous session. The index is up 4.6 percent so far in May, and up 5.4 percent so far this year. ($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Scott Anderson)

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