May 16, 2008 / 2:43 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rise as commodity prices heat up

(Adds details, analysts)

*TSX index surges at open but backs off a bit

*Oil, gold prices lift energy and materials sectors

*Bank shares hit by weak U.S. data

TORONTO, May 16 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index shot up at the start of trade on Friday with resource shares rising with bullish commodity prices, but it then handed back some of its gains.

The index’s energy sector rose 2 percent to a record high as crude oil futures soared more than $3.50 to a record $127.82 a barrel.

The materials sector, which includes miners, was almost as hot with gold up more than $15 an ounce and copper, zinc and aluminum trading higher.

“You’ve got gold and oil cooking again,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities. “Oil at least should last, with the world getting bigger everyday and more demand from Brazil, Russia, India and China.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE pared early gains, but was still up 100.88 points, or 0.7 percent, at 14,928.94 at midmorning. According to TSX charts, the index was briefly above the 15,000 mark at the open.

Oil and gas companies were the top gainers. Suncor Energy SU.TO was up C$1.94 at C$66.82, and Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO, was up C$2.25 at C$100.50.

Barrick Gold ABX.TO, the world’s biggest gold producer, rose 81 Canadian cents to C$39.86, the TSX gold subsector was up 1.5 percent.

Canadian financial shares advanced early but dipped into the red after data released after the opening bell showed U.S. consumer sentiment was at its worst level in 28 years. For details, see: [nN16320517]

TSX financial stocks fell 0.5 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO off 36 Canadian cents at C$50.27.

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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