Toronto stocks ride oil-price tide to sharp gain

Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:34pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index drove higher on Friday, helped by oil and other resource companies as crude prices surged amid supply disruptions and geopolitical tension.

Gains in its energy sector helped the resource-heavy benchmark climb more than 130 points, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was up C$2.99, or 2.6 percent, at C$117.27, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) added C$2.31, or 2.8 percent, to C$85.56.

Overall, the sector rose 2.2 percent as crude, a key underlying commodity, rallied in the wake of supply disruptions in Nigeria and the North Sea. Further tensions between Iran and the United States also helped push up oil $2.46 to $118.52 a barrel.

"Clearly we saw another day where the energies and the materials are driving the TSX," said Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri.

"We're back to a market that's ignoring what's happening south of the border in terms of worries about the economy, and is very focused on the higher price of commodities."

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 137.54 points, or 0.98 percent, at 14,103.87 with six of its 10 main sectors rising.

High-flying fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) and Agrium (AGU.TO: Quote) extended their recent surge on growing demand and record prices for fertilizer.

Potash Corp vaulted C$13.50, or 6.9 percent, to C$210.40, and Agrium rose C$4.44, or 5.2 percent, to C$90.30.   Continued...