Toronto stocks rally along with commodities

Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:16pm EDT
 
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index broke out of a four-session slump on Wednesday, soaring more than 200 points as the heavyweight resource sectors benefited from strong commodity prices.

A $3 gain in oil prices propelled the benchmark index higher following U.S. government data that showed a decline in fuel and crude supplies.

The energy sector, which has declined recently as oil prices eased from record highs, rose 4.4 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO up 7.2 percent, or C$5.66, at C$84.54.

The materials sector also helped lift up the index, rising 6.5 percent, as gold prices followed oil's upward momentum. Agnico-Eagle Mines AEM.TO was up 9.6 percent, or C$4.98, at C$56.90.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 210.22 points, or 1.6 percent, at 13,377.22 with half its 10 main sectors in positive territory.

On the downside, the financial sector sagged 1.7 percent amid nagging worries over the health of the U.S. economy and the potential for more losses related to the credit crisis.

"Naturally you're getting persistent concerns on that front because the housing data really isn't getting much better, nor do I expect it will for a while," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

"And that in turn is going to make any significant recovery in the financials' bottom line some time off," Gorman added.   Continued...