February 8, 2008 / 9:38 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks get lift from resource shares

(Updates numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index ended higher on Friday in a late-day push propelled by resource issues, as key commodity prices climbed.

The heavyweight energy sector followed crude oil’s direction, as the commodity jumped 4 percent on supply disruptions and an oncoming cold spell in the U.S. Northeast.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose C$1.74, or 1.9 percent, to C$94.79, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained C$1.26, or 2.1 percent, to C$62.21. The sector overall was up 1.1 percent.

The materials sector added 1.6 percent, while its subindex of gold producers was up 2.3 percent amid climbing bullion prices.

Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) rose C$2.05, or 3.3 percent, to C$63.45, and Goldcorp (G.TO) moved up C$1.39, or 3.9 percent, at C$36.73.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 63.97 points, or 0.49 percent, at 12,989.34. But the benchmark lost 2.5 percent on the week, plagued by worries of a U.S. slowdown.

On the downside, Inmet Mining IMN.TO was the biggest drag after the company, along with Petaquilla Copper PTC.TO and Teck Cominco Ltd TCKb.TO said development cost estimates at their Petaquilla copper project have more than doubled in the past year. That put the future of the project, located in Panama, into question.

Inmet finished down C$3.84, or 5.4 percent, at C$67.31, while Petaquilla was off 26 Canadian cents, or 13.4 percent, at C$1.68. Teck, which has the option of taking a 26 percent stake in the project if it commits to fund 52 percent of the development costs, edged up 6 Canadian cents, or 0.2 percent, to C$34.73.

Despite data that showed a soaring Canadian employment number for January, the market remained nervous over the prospect of a recession in the United States, Canada’s biggest trading partner.

The Canadian job market added 46,400 jobs in January, while the employment rate fell to 5.8 percent, melting worries of a slowdown last month.

“That was a good number, it sure shows that Canada’s not necessarily following the United States into the tank in lock-step at this point in time,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd.

But Kerkovius added, “The severity of the U.S. recession is going to affect us. It doesn’t look like it’s affecting us yet, but I think a safe bet would be to say that it will as time moves on.”

The financials, the biggest sector in the index, gave up 0.7 percent. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) was down 93 Canadian cents, or 1.4 percent, at C$67.47, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) lost 73 Canadian cents, or 1.4 percent, to C$50.56.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway

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