May 16, 2008 / 1:02 PM / 11 years ago

Toronto stocks eye new record as commodities remain hot

*TSX seen logging new record high

*Hot commodities set to boost resource shares

*Crude oil jumps to record

TORONTO, May 16 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index was set to punch higher into record territory on Friday as the prices of key commodities soared, beckoning more speculators into Canadian resource sectors.

Much like the previous session, TSX energy and material stocks — which account for nearly half the TSX — are expected to yank the index higher despite disappointing results from individual firms Rothmans ROC.TO and Quebecor World IQW.TO.

In early trade, world stocks jumped to a fresh four-month peak on the back of energy and technology shares, and U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open. But the resource-heavy Toronto index has lead virtually all other markets so far this year.

“This is apparently the safest haven in the world at the moment,” said Douglas Davis, president at Davis-Rea.

The TSX is up 7.2 percent in 2008, and up 6.4 percent in May alone. The energy and materials sectors, which have led the charge, were set to rise again on Friday.

U.S. crude oil futures surged to a new peak at $127.43 a barrel. Natural gas futures were also higher, boding well for the TSX energy sector.

Materials and mining stocks could also benefit as spot gold jumped nearly $15 an ounce, and most base metals were trading higher.

Adding to the cheery atmosphere ahead of Canada’s Victoria Day holiday weekend, U.S. housing starts rose more than expected last month, giving a boost to stock investors who have grown wary of a slowing U.S. economy. For details, see: [nN15314424]

Elsewhere, cigarette-maker Rothmans said its profit rose, but shipments fell in the fourth quarter. See: [nN16382517]

Quebecor World, the commercial printer, posted a loss in its first quarter. See: [nN15346271]

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE starts the day at 14,828.06 after climbing 201.75 points, or 1.4 percent, in the previous session to a record close.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; editing by Renato Andrade

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