April 2, 2008 / 11:55 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks boosted by commodities gains

(Updates official closing numbers, adds details)

TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index climbed for the third day in a row on Wednesday, fueled by resource shares that benefited from a sharp rally in commodity prices.

But the benchmark eased from the day’s earlier highs, as financial shares retreated on profit-taking following two days of strong gains.

A surge in oil and gold prices, key underlying commodities for the resource-heavy TSX, helped push mining and energy companies higher. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) gained C$2.27, or 2.3 percent, to C$100.80 while Goldcorp (G.TO) rose C$2.09, or 5.5 percent, to C$40.39.

The energy and materials sectors rose 1.4 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. Oil bolted almost $4 higher to $104.83 a barrel, while gold rose as high as $898.60 an ounce.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 73.42 points, or 0.55 percent, at 13,514.14 with seven of its 10 main sectors on the upside. Earlier in the day, it had climbed as high as 13,598.26.

The heavyweight financial sector gave up early gains, to end down 0.8 percent. National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) was off C$1.24, or 2.5 percent, at C$48.35, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) slipped C$1.50, or 2.2 percent, to C$67.40.

The sector, which has been stung by continuing fallout from the credit squeeze, gained nearly 6 percent over the previous two sessions as investors hoped the problems battering financial markets may have turned the corner.

On the earnings front, clothing retailer Lululemon Athletica LLL.TO posted a surprisingly big jump in fourth-quarter profit, but its stock finished off 75 Canadian cents, or 2.3 percent, at C$31.35.

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson

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