TORONTO (Reuters) - Rising energy and materials shares, spurred by surging oil and gold prices, kept Toronto's main stock index in positive territory on Friday, fending off a selloff in other areas in the wake of unrest in Egypt.
The gain stood in contrast to stocks in the United States and emerging markets, which investors sold in reaction to street battles between protesters and Egyptian security forces.
Toronto's heavily-weighted resource sector insulated the index from deep losses. While six of the 10 index sectors were lower, the energy sector benefited from a soaring oil price and materials were boosted by safe-haven gold miners.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index finished 27.38 points, or 0.2 percent, higher at 13,437.58.
"It really underscores Canada's position as a producer of commodities that would benefit in the event of geopolitical instability," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
"If instability continues ... we should be supported by the weighting in energy and gold."
Gold-mining stocks reclaimed ground after a sharp decline in the previous session and steadily added to gains as the price for bullion bounced $40 per ounce off session lows.
The index's materials group, home to the gold-mining sector, was up 1.1 percent.
Heavyweight gainers included Barrick Gold, up 2.98 percent at C$47.39, and Agnico Eagle, up 2.67 percent at C$69.16. Kinross Gold rose 2.29 percent to C$16.99.
Other commodity-based issues were also strong advancers, with the oil and gas group up 1.64 percent. Suncor Energy rose 3.87 percent to C$40.04. Canadian Natural Resources gained 2.82 percent to close at C$43.08.
Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson