* TSX up 30.56 points, or 0.22 pct, at 13,842.63
* Six of the 10 main groups higher
* Materials sector ahead 1.41 percent (Adds details, comment)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was moderately higher on Tuesday morning, as strong gold mining issues, buoyed by higher bullion prices, offset weakness among energy stocks.
On the upside, Goldcorp (G.TO) climbed 3.11 percent to C$42.07, while Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) advanced 1.82 percent to C$48.14. Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) rose 2.99 percent to C$73.37.
Gold prices rose about 1 percent to $1,365 an ounce as traders moved to cover short positions in the futures markets. Analysts also saw continued demand in China, the world’s second-biggest gold consumer, for the safe-haven precious metal. [GOL/] [ID:nLDE7170VV]
On the downside, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) led decliners, falling 1.06 percent to C$39.96. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was off 0.95 percent at C$43.56 and Encana Corp (ECA.TO) slid 1.64 percent to C$31.11.
The overall energy group was down 0.7 percent.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 30.56 points, or 0.22 percent, at 13,842.63. Six of the TSX’s 10 main groups rose, with the materials sector, home to gold miners, up 1.41 percent.
Oil prices continued their retreat on Tuesday ahead of an expected increase in weekly U.S. crude supply and after China moved to cool inflation with an interest rate increase. While the move in China was anticipated, prices fell on worries it could tame oil demand growth. [O/R] [ID:nN08315653]
“The Chinese raised their interest rates a quarter of a point. The rational for them doing that is trying to cool their economy a little bit, because they do have concerns about an overheated economy bringing in increased risk to inflationary pressures,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president and director at Canaccord Wealth Management.
“The energy sector is muting some of the gains that we’re seeing in the precious metals area,” said Chandler.
The index briefly turned negative before it recouped its losses and climbed higher.
“The market has been, quite frankly, very positive. It’s been on a tear, but it doesn’t go in a straight line. It has to pause,” said Chandler.
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Editing by Rob Wilson)