December 5, 2007 / 4:48 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 2-Energy issues lead Toronto stocks higher

(Adds details, analyst comment)

By Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The resource-heavy main index of the Toronto Stock Exchange rose early and remained buoyant on Wednesday, lifted primarily by bullish energy shares after OPEC decided to leave crude output levels unchanged.

The move by the cartel of oil-producing countries drove U.S. crude oil futures as high as $90.39 a barrel, which gave the TSX energy sector a 1.7 percent boost.

Crude slipped back to around $89 a barrel, however, after a mid-morning report showed a much larger than expected build in U.S. gasoline stockpiles last week.

All 10 of the Toronto index’s main sectors were higher, with industrials up 2.4 percent, materials ahead 1 percent and the information technology sector 1.9 percent higher.

Overall, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 159.48 points, or 1.2 percent, at 13,739.10.

The index had fallen 0.8 percent over the past two days, hampered by worries over the economic health of the United States, Canada’s biggest trading partner.

Those worries were tempered on Wednesday with the release of one U.S. report that showed higher than expected employment growth in the private sector last month, and another that showed U.S. worker productivity logged the strongest growth in four years. For details, see: [nN05598168] and [nN05602438]

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion RIM.TO led the TSX charge, up C$4.06 at C$106.38. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) climbed C$2.93 to C$101.81 to lead energy firms.

The energy sector, which accounts for about 28 percent of the overall TSX index, is up 2.8 percent so far this year.

Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd. in Calgary, noted that despite the run-up in oil prices, the Canadian sector has lagged world energy stocks.

Kerkovius said this was partly due to the recent appreciation of the Canadian dollar and the fact that TSX energy stocks are more directly influenced by the price of natural gas, which has been mostly flat this year.

Husky Energy (HSE.TO) advanced C$1.38 to C$40.53 after it and oil major BP Plc (BP.L) said they have agreed to work on developing an oil sands-related joint venture. For details, see: [nN05608579]

Quebecor Media (QBRa.TO) climbed 4 Canadian cents to C$2.24 after its media division sweetened its offer to take Nurun Inc.NUR.TO private. For details, see: [nN05404314]

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Rob Wilson

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