TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index closed 1 percent higher on Thursday, propped up by the large resource sectors, but worries over more impact from the credit crunch kept the broader market below the water line.
Oil and gas stocks were up 3.2 percent due to a $6 jump in oil prices amid threats to production in Nigeria and Brazil, and tensions between the West and Iran.
But worries over continuing credit crunch fallout added a negative tone to the market, and knocked 0.8 percent off the bank-heavy financial sector.
“I think the market is going to have to start differentiating between (banks) that are more likely to give you a couple more negative surprises, than not,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd, in Calgary, Alberta.
“And the second thing is, it’s going to have to come to the realization that we’re probably most of the way through this,” Kerkovius added.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 133.04 points, or 0.98 percent, at 13,743.88, but just three of its 10 main sectors were in positive territory.
The materials sector gained 2.3 percent, helped by miners as prices for gold and other metals rallied. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) was up C$2.55, or 3.6 percent, at C$73.85, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose C$2.03, or 4.5 percent, to C$47.19.
In the oil patch, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) jumped C$3.39, or 4 percent, to C$89.15, and Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO added C$2.82, or 5.8 percent, to C$51.25.
Financial institutions have taken the brunt of the burden of losses related to the credit crunch and the U.S. housing market crisis.
The latest worries were sparked by anxiety over whether U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac FRE.N will be able to raise the capital they need.
Canadian banks are generally viewed as having cleaner balance sheets than their U.S. counterparts.
“Investors are wrongfully labeling all banks as being in the same situation, and I think that’s unfair, and I think it’s wrong,” Kerkovius said.
Consumer shares were battered by worries over a failing consumer appetite in the face of high energy prices. The consumer discretionary and staples sectors were down 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
Rising in addition to the energy and materials sectors was the utilities group, up 0.3 percent.
Shares of Cogeco Inc (CGO.TO) rose C$1.39, or 4.6 percent, to C$31.50, after the media company posted a sharp rise in quarterly profit, helped by strength at its cable-TV unit, Cogeco Cable Inc (CCA.TO).
Market volume was 339 million shares worth C$7 billion. Decliners outpaced advancers 779 to 759. The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed up 8.32 points, or 1.02 percent, at 821.80.
In New York, stocks rose amid optimism over a major deal in the chemicals sector. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 81.58 points, or 0.73 percent, at 11,229.02, while the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC added 22.96 points, or 1.03 percent, to 2,257.85.
Editing by Peter Galloway