May 1, 2009 / 9:32 PM / 10 years ago

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

* Index falls 0.5 pct on week, ends 7-week streak of gains (Adds details and comments)

By Cameron French

TORONTO, May 1 (Reuters) - Hopes that an economic recovery could be on the way boosted Canadian energy and metals shares on Friday, driving Toronto’s main stock index up nearly 2 percent.

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 TSX index’sheavily weighted 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.

The commodity price gains helped the resource-heavy TSX outdistance U.S. stock indexes that made only modest gains to to end the week.

“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 (commodities),” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung and Co Investment Counsel.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 172.13 points, or 1.85 percent, to close at 9,496.96. Nine of the 10 TSX subgroups gained, with only the financial sector showing a slight decline, down 0.02 percent.

The blue-chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 rose 10.34 points, or 1.83 percent, to end at 575.72.

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.

Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) climbed 6.4 percent to C$29.15 as optimism over the outlook for uranium prices overshadowed a weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit at the uranium miner.

For the week, the TSX index slipped 0.5 percent, following seven straight weeks of gains that have carried it up more than 25 percent since early March.

Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver, said the sharp runup in the past two months means a slight pullback is inevitable, although he said the traditional logic that stocks enter a summer lull in May might not apply this year.

“I really think that just based on the resiliency we’ve been showing in recent weeks that this time might be a little different. We might actually see the markets at least hold on to their gains going into the last quarter of the year,” he said.

Among declining stocks, Brookfield Properties BPO.TO dropped 2.1 percent to C$8.68 after the company reported quarterly results that fell short of analysts’ forecasts, and said a weak residential market could weigh on its 2009 performance.

$1=$1.18 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway

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