Strong resources push Toronto stocks higher

Fri May 30, 2008 5:22pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index pushed almost 1 percent higher on Friday as it rode the strength of resource issues, which benefited from firm commodity prices.

Energy companies got a boost as crude finished a see-saw session higher. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) gained C$1.99, or 2.1 percent, to C$97.24, while Imperial Oil (IMO.TO: Quote) rose C$1.05, or 1.9 percent, to C$57.75.

The oil and gas group added 1.4 percent overall, while the resource-laden materials sector pushed up 2.4 percent with help from an advance in precious metals prices.

Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO: Quote) climbed C$2.39, or 3.5 percent, to C$70.35, and fertilizer company Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) was up C$2.75, or 1.4 percent, at C$197.33.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 137.56 points, or 0.94 percent, to 14,714.73 with six of its 10 main sectors in an upswing. The benchmark had briefly surged more than 200 points in the late afternoon, before paring gains.

The financial sector contributed a lift of 0.5 percent following a bout of quarterly results from the major banks through the week.

Kate Warne, Canadian market strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Missouri, said the banks largely came in as expected, with the exception of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote), which reported a big loss on charges for worsening structured-credit positions.

The financial sector has been beaten up by fallout from the credit crunch, but Canadian banks have not seen the massive writedowns that U.S. and overseas institutions have had to take.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto in this November 9, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>