* TSX up 67.28 points at 11,417.48
* Higher commodity prices help power rally
* Improved sentiment on global economy helps (Adds details and comments)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was moderately higher on Thursday as a rise in commodity prices and growing signs of a global economic recovery helped power key energy players like EnCana Corp (ECA.TO).
EnCana’s shares rose 0.9 percent to C$61.55, while fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was up 0.8 percent at C$71.32.
Energy shares have been rallying most of the week, with Thursday’s move aided by a rise in oil prices above $70 a barrel on a weaker U.S. dollar and signs of global economic recovery. [O/R]
Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) shares were also a key driver of the early gain, rising 0.7 percent to C$42.07, followed by fellow gold miner Goldcorp (G.TO), whose shares were up 0.69 percent at C$44.94.
The rally in gold-mining shares came as gold prices rallied to record highs for a third successive session as persistent weakness in the U.S. dollar fueled fund buying of the metal as an alternative to the greenback. [GOL/]
Financial shares also got a boost due to a growing string of signs that the global economy in on the mend. The latest boost to sentiment came via Wednesday’s surprise profit from Alcoa Inc [ID:nN07320124], followed by Australian jobs data that topped expectations. [ID:nSYD431125]
Shares of Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) were up 0.5 percent at C$56.59, while insurer Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) was up 0.9 percent at C$22.75.
“It’s a continued overall play on the U.S. dollar and the recovery in the global economy,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
“People just want to sell the U.S. dollar and buy other currencies, especially the commodity currencies such as Canada and also to buy commodities and commodity-related equities.”
At 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 67.28 points, or 0.59 percent, at 11,417.48.
Other encouraging data included Canadian housing starts, which fell 4.6 percent in September from August but still came in ahead of expectations. The report increased investor optimism that the economy is pulling out of recession. [ID:nN08392997]
($1=$1.06 Canadian) (Editing by Peter Galloway)