(Adds details, analyst’s comments)
*Oil and metals prices support energy and materials stocks
*North American economic data aids rise
TORONTO, June 5 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index hung on to most of its early gains at mid morning on Thursday, aided by energy and material stocks as prices for crude oil and metals rebounded.
Adding support was a surprise jump in Canadian building permits for April, which lifted spirits about the economy. In the United States, a report showed an unexpected fall in jobless claims last week.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 76.84 points, or 0.5 percent, at 14,767.30. It rose more than 100 points earlier in the session.
The key support came from oil, up 1 percent at above $123.50 a barrel on the back of a weaker U.S. dollar.
The volatile shares of Research In Motion RIM.TO led the rise, up C$3.59 at C$140.03, but the energy sector added broad support, climbing 1 percent as a group.
Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO jumped C$1.95 to C$99.35, and EnCana ECA.TO added 95 Canadian cents to C$90.20.
Resource shares pulled the index lower in the previous session, so investors may have been looking for bargains in the sectors that powered the TSX to record highs last month.
Clement Gignac, chief economist and strategist at National Bank of Canada in Montreal, warned that the index’s oil-driven rise may be short-lived.
“There is growing evidence of a significant decline in gasoline consumption in the U.S. due to the reaction to oil prices,” he said.
The materials sector, which includes miners and agricultural products, rose 0.3 percent as a measure of base metal prices edged higher. Silicon producer Timminco TIM.TO climbed C$1.08 to C$34.78.
On the downside, MDS Inc MDS.TO fell 81 Canadian cents to C$17.79 after the medical-services company reported a lower second-quarter profit and reduced its forecasts. For details, see: [nN04378250]
The value of Canadian building permits surged 14.5 percent in April, while the number of U.S. workers filing jobless claims tumbled to the lowest level since mid-April. See: [nN05321235] and [nN05322966]
$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway