May 1, 2009 / 8:57 PM / in 9 years

CANADA STOCKS-Strong oil, metal prices boost TSX index

* TSX index rises 172.13 points to 9,496.96

* Energy sector up 4 pct, leads rally

* Falls 0.5 pct on week, ends 7-week gain (Adds details and comments)

By Cameron French

TORONTO, May 1 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose nearly 2 percent on Friday as economic optimism boosted prices for oil and base metals, driving energy and mining issues higher.

For the week, however, the index slipped 0.5 percent, ending a seven-week run of weekly gains.

A survey showing U.S. consumers felt more confident about the U.S. economy in April than at any time since last September [ID:nN01402214] helped drive U.S. crude futures to a four-week high above $53 a barrel, which in turn drove the heavily weighted TSX energy sector up 3.99 percent.

Materials stocks climbed 2.16 percent, as the consumer confidence survey, combined with data showing a less severe contraction in the U.S. manufacturing sector, pushed copper prices to a two-week high and also boosted zinc prices.

“It’s the expectation that if the economy is a little bit more stabilized then there may in fact be a little bit of a pickup in manufacturing activity, which will draw on the need for commodity stocks,” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co Investment Counsel.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 172.13 point, or 1.85 percent, to close at 9,496.96 points. Nine of the ten TSX subgroups gained, with only the financials sector showing a slight decline, at 0.02 percent.

Energy stocks were led higher by Suncor Energy (SU.TO), which rose 7.8 percent to C$32.37, while Talisman Energy TLM.TO climbed 6.4 percent to C$15.91, and Petro Canada PCA.TO gained 5.5 percent to C$39.73.

The gains by Suncor and Petro-Canada came after Goldman Sachs upgraded each company to a “buy” rating from a “sell”. [ID:nBNG274588] Suncor is buying Petro-Canada in an C$18.4 billion ($15.4 billion) deal to create the country’s biggest energy company.

Among materials issues, Teck Resources TCKb.TO jumped 11.7 percent to C$13.99, while Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) gained 15.2 percent to C$2.50.

$1=$1.18 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson

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