July 9, 2009 / 2:56 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX higher on firm commodities, Alcoa results

* TSX up 0.68 percent at 9719.34

* Material sector rose 1.61 percent

* Alcoa’s earning results boost markets (Adds details, quote)

By Nina Lex

TORONTO, July 9 (Reuters)- Toronto’s main stock index was higher on Thursday morning as a rise in commodity prices gave a boost to the resource-heavy market, while forecast-beating results from U.S. bellwether Alcoa helped lift sentiment.

Aluminum giant Alcoa AA.N kicked off the U.S. earnings season on Wednesday by reporting a third consecutive quarterly loss, but it beat estimates by a large margin due to cost cuts. [ID:nN08471164]

At 10:14 a.m. (1414 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 65.19 points, or 0.68 percent, at 9719.34. Six of its 10 main groups were higher.

“At the open the bigger factors were the Alcoa earnings in the States and there were fewer unemployment claims which kind of boost the market up on both sides of the boarder,” said Steve Ibel, institutional equities trader at Beacon Securities, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply last week but the decline was amplified by seasonal adjustments. [ID:nN08382700]

The positive news south of the border helped boost prices for commodities, mainly oil and gold.

The materials sector rose 1.61 percent, with Barrick Gold ABX.TO up 1.12 percent at C$37.04 and Iamgold IMG.TO up 3.1 percent at C$10.98.

The most influential mover on the index was Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc POT.TO, up 2.8 percent at C$108.21.

The energy sector rose 1.24 percent as the price of oil jumped to around $60 a barrel. EnCana ECA.TO shares rose 1.4 percent to C$52.90, Suncor Energy SU.TO was up 0.92 percent at C$30.75 and Petro-Canada was up 1.4 percent at C$39.15.

$1=$1.16 Canadian Reporting by Nina Lex; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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