* Energy group leads TSX higher; up 5 straight sessions
* Resource-laden materials slump 3 pct as gold slides
* U.S. stimulus packages eyed, delay announced
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TORONTO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed slightly higher on Monday to log five straight sessions of gains on strength in energy issues, but weakness in the influential materials group due to sliding gold prices kept the rise in check.
The big energy sector led the TSX higher, rising 2.5 percent, even as the price of oil CLc1 settled lower at $39.56 as demand concerns overcame talk of OPEC production cuts. [ID:nSYD420106]. Financials, up 1.2 percent, also supported the market.
Heavily-weighted stocks on the upside included Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO, up 4.3 percent at C$47.36, and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO, which rose 1.9 percent to C$31.17.
The market saw a “nice pop” earlier in the day on U.S. stimulus hope, but faded as the big materials sector tugged the market lower, said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.
The proposed massive stimulus faced another day of political wrangling. The U.S. government was also due to set out a bank bailout plan on Monday, but that announcement was delayed until Tuesday. [ID:nN09524347]
Masionis added that despite optimism over the economic stimulus there is still caution in the market over how well the measures will work.
“People are still quite hesitant about the quick results from this financial package,” he said.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 39.26 points, or 0.44 percent, at 9,047.28, with eight of the 10 main groups higher. Earlier, the index had rallied 1.6 percent.
Materials fell 3 percent as the price of gold slumped. Gold miners Barrick Gold ABX.TO and Goldcorp G.TO fell 4.5 percent to C$45.82 and 3.5 percent to C$36.09, respectively.
Among individual stocks, UTS Energy Corp UTS.TO rose 5.9 percent to C$1.80 after it urged shareholders to reject French oil major Total SA’s TOTF.PA takeover offer, calling the unsolicited bid “inadequate”. [ID:N09510405] (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)