May 16, 2008 / 9:04 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 3-Commodities power Toronto stocks to record close

(Adds details, comments)

*Toronto composite index closes at record

*Energy and materials lead the day’s gains

*Gain for the week is 3.2 percent

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO, May 16 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index hit another record high on Friday as energy and materials shares rose on strong commodity prices and powered the composite to a level just shy of the 15,000 mark.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 156.14 points, or 1.05 percent, to close at 14,984.20, giving it a gain of 3.2 percent for the week. Last Friday, it closed at 14,521.19.

Even though seven of the benchmark’s 10 main groups ended lower, the heavyweight energy and materials sectors surged higher, gaining 2.94 percent and 1.79 percent, respectively.

The advances came as U.S. crude oil futures rose sharply to settle above $126 per barrel for the first time and U.S. gold futures ended 2.3 percent higher at just below $900 an ounce.

“Today was just one of those days when the commodities ... had a very good day,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

The S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 of Canadian bluechips rose 10.69 points, or 1.21 percent, to 895.42.

The commodity strength gave a lift to energy companies like Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), which added C$3.61, or 3.7 percent, to finish at C$101.86. Husky Energy (HSE.TO) rose C$2.32, or 4.7 percent, to close at C$51.94.

Among gold firms, Royal Gold Inc RGL.TO rose C$2.24, or 7.8 percent, to end at C$30.99. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) rose C$1.13, or 2.9 percent, to C$40.18.

“Investor confidence may not have been restored in everything, because the banks are still a lot lower than they were a year ago, but people are continuing to pile into the things that have been working,” said Gavin Graham, chief investment officer at Guardian Group of Funds.

The day’s biggest net loser was FirstService Corp (FSV.TO), which fell C$2.08, or 10.4 percent, to close at C$17.88, a day after the property services company posted a fourth-quarter loss.

Despite Friday’s record close for the TSX, Kinsey predicted more volatility ahead as tough conditions in the credit markets both in Canada and the United States continue to weigh on investors’ minds.

“I think we’re just going to get more of what we’ve had for a while yet,” he said.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended lower by 5.86 points, or 0.05 percent, at 12,986.80. There, stronger energy shares offset data that showed consumer confidence sank to its lowest level in almost three decades.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC fell 4.88 points, 0.19 percent, to close at 2,528.85. ($1=$1 Canadian) (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)

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