February 9, 2009 / 10:29 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Energy fuels TSX rise but gold drags

* TSX rises for 5th straight session, energy leads way

* Resource-laden materials slump 3 pct as gold slides

* U.S. stimulus packages eyed (Adds details, quote)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed slightly higher on Monday to log five straight sessions of gains, boosted by strength in energy issues, but held back by weakness in the materials group due to sliding gold prices.

The big energy sector rose 2.5 percent even though 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 oil company 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” early in the day on U.S. stimulus hopes, but the rally faded as the big materials sector tugged the market lower, said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.

Masionis added that despite optimism over the massive U.S. stimulus package, there is still caution in the market over how well the measures will work.

The U.S. government was also due to set out a bank bailout plan on Monday, but that announcement was delayed until Tuesday to enable lawmakers to spend the day focusing on the stimulus package [ID:nN09524347].

“People are still quite hesitant about the quick results from this financial package,” Masionis said.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 39.26 points, or 0.44 percent, at 9,047.28, with eight of its 10 main groups higher. Earlier, the index had rallied 1.6 percent.

The benchmark index is up for five straight sessions, the longest run of consecutive gains since early January, but there were doubts about the rally’s staying power.

“I’m expecting more of the bad news before I get some good news,” said Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management Inc., in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“The good old risk is still very much alive and thriving.”

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.

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]

The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 2.16 points, or 0.4 percent, higher at 546.22. ($1=$1.22 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)

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