* TSX up 60.89 points, or 0.51 percent, at 12,068.36
* Seven of 10 sectors stronger, led by materials
* Influential banking sector weighs (Updates to close, adds analyst comment)
By Trish Nixon
TORONTO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index closed moderately higher on Monday as investors searched for value in beaten-down stocks and gold-mining issues surged with the price of bullion, offsetting weakness in banks.
Safe-haven gold hit a third consecutive all-time high near $1,900 after staging its biggest weekly gain in 2-1/2 years last week, driving the index’s gold-mining sub-group up 4.2 percent. [GOL/]
“It’s a nervous nervous market that we have here, and people are doing the flight to safety thing,” said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.
“For a change, the gold stocks participated. That has really helped our market.”
Six of the top 10 influential gainers were major gold mining stocks, with Goldcorp (G.TO) leading the way, up 4.8 percent at C$53.65. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) added 2.6 percent to C$51.64, and Kinross Gold (K.TO) jumped 5.1 percent to C$17.49.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed off its earlier highs, but still up 60.89 points, or 0.51 percent, at 12,068.36. Earlier in the session it climbed as high as 12,218.03.
Seven out of 10 sectors were stronger, with the weighty materials sector driving the gains, up 2.8 percent.
But financial stocks continued to weigh on the market, sinking 0.7 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) was the heaviest drag, down 2 percent to C$49.23, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) fell 1 percent to C$48.48.
“Tenor is sort of set by the European banks, and people are very nervous about them,” Kinsey added.
Energy shares slumped with the price of oil as investors anticipated a resumption of oil exports from the OPEC-member Libya, where rebels moved to control most of Tripoli and an end to the six-month-old civil war seemed close. [O/R]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was the third most influential decliner, down 1.3 percent to C$28.83.
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)