(Updates official closing numbers, adds detail)
TORONTO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index finished strongly higher on Thursday, as robust resource issues benefited from higher commodity prices and led a broad afternoon rally.
The materials sector led the charge, helped by a rally in gold prices and a surge in units of Fording Canadian Coal Trust FDG_u.TO after it said it was weighing its options, including the sale of the company.
The coal producer jumped C$4.65, or 13.5 percent, to C$39.10, making it the biggest net advancer by weight. Teck Cominco TCKb.TO, which has a nearly 20 percent stake in Fording, rose C$1.61, or 4.4 percent, to C$38.11. The sector as a whole was up 2.4 percent.
The energy sector was up 1.7 percent while the price of oil climbed $2.74 to $90.23 a barrel on supply concerns and weakness in the U.S. dollar.
Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO rose C$1.60, or 2.4 percent, to C$68.09 and Husky Energy HSE.TO gained 81 Canadian cents, or 2 percent, to C$42.10, the day after it said it would form a joint venture with British oil major BP Plc BP.L.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 115.26 points, or 0.84 percent, at 13,849.80.
Stocks also got some support as U.S. President George W. Bush outlined a plan to freeze interest-rate increases on adjustable-rate subprime mortgages for five years.
But the financial sector remained the lone group in negative territory, hurt by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s CM.TO decline after the bank said its hedged exposure to the subprime market could result in significant losses.
CIBC fell C$4.69, or 5.4 percent, to C$82.40. Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO rose 21 Canadian cents, or 0.4 percent, to C$52.36 after it reported an increase in fourth-quarter earnings but gave a cautious outlook for next year.
$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Rob Wilson