August 13, 2008 / 8:39 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks get a big boost from commodities

(Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

*TSX index breaks four-session slump to end up 1.6 percent

*Resource shares gain along with commodity prices

*Financials falter on economic worries

TORONTO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index rose more than 1 percent on Wednesday after four successive days of losses as the heavyweight resource sectors benefited from strong commodity prices.

A $3 gain in oil prices propelled the benchmark index higher following U.S. government data that showed a decline in fuel and crude supplies.

The energy sector, which has declined recently as oil has eased off record high prices, rose 4.4 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) up 7.2 percent, or C$5.66, to C$84.54.

The materials sector also propped up the index, rising 6.5 percent, as gold prices followed oil’s upward momentum. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) was up 9.6 percent, or C$4.98, at C$56.90.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 210.22 points, or 1.6 percent, at 13,377.22 with half of its 10 main sectors in positive territory.

But on the downside, the financial sector sagged 1.7 percent amid nagging worries over the health of the U.S. economy and the potential for more losses related to the housing crisis.

“Naturally you’re getting persistent concerns on that front because the housing data really isn’t getting much better, nor do I expect it will for a while,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

“And that in turn is going to make any significant recovery in the financials’ bottom line some time off,” Gorman added.

Among the banking laggards, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) slid C$2.21, or 3.6 percent, to C$59.70, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) was down C$1.42, or 3 percent, at C$46.73.

The small health sector gave up 2.9 percent, brought down by declines in Biovail BVF.TO and Cardiome Pharma COM.TO after both reported quarterly losses.

Biovail, Canada’s largest publicly traded drug company, was down 28 Canadian cents, or 2.7 percent, at C$10.22, and Cardiome shed 82 Canadian cents, or 8.2 percent, to C$9.14.

$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway

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