February 6, 2008 / 3:23 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rise, off highs, on golds

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TORONTO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was higher but off early highs on Wednesday morning as rosy earnings from BCE Inc (BCE.TO) and bullish gold prices took the focus off worries over a recession.

Gold producers, including global heavyweights Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) and Goldcorp (G.TO), led the upside as the price of spot gold rose more than 1 percent to above $900 an ounce.

BCE, the telecom firm which is poised to be taken private in a massive buyout, was up 59 Canadian cents at C$35.14 after it reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and slightly higher revenue. For details, see: [nN06299216]

But key financial stocks, along with the utilities and health care sectors, skidded into the red after a positive start to the session.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 71.76 points, or 0.55 percent, at 13,003.71, picking up some of the pieces from its 2.5-percent drop in the previous session.

The index was up more than 135 points immediately after trading began.

The gold-mining subgroup climbed 2 percent with Barrick up C$1.14 at C$39.34, and Goldcorp up 91 Canadian cents at C$35.79.

Materials issues rose 0.9 percent and consumer staples added 0.8 percent. The heavyweight energy sector was up 0.1 percent.

The financial sector was slightly lower, with Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) off 13 Canadian cents at C$36.77, and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) down 57 Canadian cents at C$56.13.

Elsewhere, Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) edged up 4 Canadian cents to C$32.34 after it said quarterly profit jumped more than 50 percent. For details see: [nN06269462]

Among others reporting results on Wednesday, cigarette-maker Rothmans ROC.TO was up 3 Canadian cents at C$23.94, while pipeline operator Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) fell 14 Canadian cents to C$40.06.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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