* TSX gains 0.79 percent to 11,838.79
* Commodities price gains drive rally
* U.S. manufacturing sector stronger than expected in Dec (Adds details)
TORONTO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market was higher on Monday morning as the price of oil soared, pushing up shares of Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and other oil companies, while strength in gold boosted miners such as Barrick Gold (ABX.TO).
Suncor was up 2.7 percent at C$38.23, while Barrick gained 2.2 percent to C$42.35. The pair were among the top gainers in the first trading session of the year.
Nineteen of the top 20 heavyweight advancers were resource-based stocks as oil soared above $81 a barrel, while the price of gold and other precious metals also rallied. Overall, the energy group was up 1.7 percent, while the mining-heavy materials sector climbed 2.5 percent. [O/R] [GOL/]
“It seems most of the focus out here is on golds and oils and commodity-driven names,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities. “People are just trying to sort things out and try to figure out which direction the market is going to go in the next few weeks and months.
“We got out of the gate here with a pretty good start.”
At 10:10 a.m. (1510 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE, which is home to some of the biggest gold and energy companies in the world, was up 92.68 points, or 0.79 percent, at 11,838.79. Half of the index’s 10 main groups were higher.
In 2009, the composite index .GSPTSE notched its best annual performance since 1979, climbing 30.7 percent.
The index held higher after the Institute for Supply Management reported its monthly index of U.S. manufacturing activity for December was stronger than expected, reinforcing evidence that the U.S. economy is on the mend. [ID:nWEN7955]
$1=$1.04 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway