* TSX ends up 0.47 percent at 11,944.54
* Gold stocks shine as bullion hits 3-wk high
* Potash leads index for 2nd straight day (Adds details)
TORONTO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended higher for a fifth straight session on Wednesday, backed by a three-week high in the price of gold that lifted producers such as Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Goldcorp (G.TO).
Gold prices topped $1,140 an ounce as the U.S. dollar broadly fell after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting showed members were worried about the winding down of the central bank’s massive purchase of mortgage securities to boost the nascent economic recovery. [ID:nWEQ003714] [GOL/]
Among key gainers, Barrick was up 1.65 percent at C$43.18, while Goldcorp rose 1.47 percent at C$43.38.
Energy players were also among the big movers, helping take the TSX composite index to a 15-month high as oil prices rose for a 10th straight day to settle above $83 a barrel, outweighing an unexpected rise in U.S. crude and gasoline inventories. [O/R]
Suncor (SU.TO) jumped 1.3 percent to C$39.25, while Talisman TLM.TO advanced 1.8 percent to C$20.23.
“The oil numbers, even though they were relatively bearish, the whole complex isn’t that bad today on the oil and gas side,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.
“It’s actually doing fairly well so that’s helping. I think it portends what’s going to come down the road here. You’re going to see a lot more strength in the oil and gas as we head into 2010.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 56.46 points, or 0.47 percent, at 11,944.54. Seven of the index’s 10 main groups were higher.
Potash Corp (POT.TO) played the biggest role of any individual stock in leading the index higher for a second straight session.
The shares added 3.44 percent to end at C$127.23 after the fertilizer producer won an analyst upgrade and as fellow producer Mosaic Co (MOS.N) said on Wednesday it expects shipments of potash to increase in 2010. [ID:nN06160066]
$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson