* TSX up 0.87 percent at 8,080.92
* Financials, up 1.6 percent, lead TSX higher
* Energy issues up 1.1 percent as crude rises (Adds details, quotes)
TORONTO, March 12 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Thursday morning, boosted by strength in commodity issues thanks to higher underlying prices, while financials extended gains from the previous two sessions on hopes the worst of the banking crisis may be easing.
Gold miners were among the biggest contributors to moving the market higher as the materials sector rose 1 percent, boosted by a higher bullion price. Barrick Gold ABX.TO was up 4.2 percent at C$36.84, while Goldcorp G.TO rose 2.7 percent to C$36.98.
Energy issues rose 1.1 percent as oil climbed back above $43 a barrel after sliding in the previous session. Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO rose 2.3 percent at C$45.88.
Financials were up 1.6 percent with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO ahead 1.6 percent at C$34.12.
Investor sentiment was buoyed by U.S. data that showed only a slight easing in retail sales last month, suggesting that consumer spending was stabilizing. [ID:nN12352975]
“That’s fairly positive,” Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal, said of the retail sales data.
“It seems the consumers, the biggest part of the equation, are still spending. The bears will argue it is unsustainable but it shows there’s still activity on that side.”
On the downside, U.S. data showed a record high number of people drawing state jobless benefits.
At 10:29 a.m. (1429 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 69.90 points, or 0.87 percent, at 8,080.92, after starting the day on weak footing. Seven of the index’s 10 main groups were higher. ($1=$1.29 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)