* S&P/TSX composite up 119.26 points at 12,361.02
* Greek PM’s softer vote stance drives gains
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index extended gains on Thursday, rising 1 percent, after the Greek Prime Minister softened his stance on a referendum on the country’s vital bailout package.
After a call for his resignation by opposition party members, Greek leader George Papandreou retreated from his push for a confidence vote on the euro-zone rescue fund, which had wreaked havoc on global financial markets. [MKTS/GLOB]
Financial markets and commodity prices responded positively.
“They’re pretty well trading with the headlines that are coming out of Greece right now,” said Robert Kavcic, an economist with BMO Capital Markets.
Oil, gold and copper prices also got lift from the European Central Bank’s surprise decision to cut its main interest rate to tackle a worsening debt crisis affecting the euro zone, a move that promised to boost credit availability and brighten commodity demand prospects. [O/R] [GOL/] [MET/L]
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 119.26 points, or 1 percent, at 12,361.02 at midday, after falling just below the break-even line to 12,237.26, early in the session.
Seven of Canada’s top main sectors were higher, led by energy stocks, which were up more than 2 percent.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) led the sector, rising 7 percent to C$37.41. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was up 2.9 percent to C$32.71.
Canadian Natural’s quarterly profit rose 40 percent and topped analyst expectations on higher output and crude price, and the country’s No. 2 oil producer forecast 17 percent production rise in 2012. [ID:nL4E7M31JS]
The commodities-reliant materials sector rose more than 1 percent, lifted by higher gold and copper stocks. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was the biggest gainer, rising 1.7 percent to C$52.05.
U.S. Institute for Supply Management report that showed the vast U.S. services sector slowed modestly in October to its lowest level in three months, produced a slight drag on markets. [ID:nN1E7A20JG] (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)