* TSX up 116.87 pts, or 1 pct, at 11,757.08
* TSX’s highest level since Nov. 23
* Resources, financials lead the gains
* Strong U.S. consumer confidence data lifts mood (Adds details, analyst comments)
By Jon Cook
TORONTO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index touched its highest point in nearly a week on Tuesday as resource issues rose on strong U.S. consumer confidence data and hopes that a meeting of European finance ministers would lead to an agreement on resolving the debt crisis.
Oil and gas issues were the index’s biggest movers, rising nearly 2 percent as U.S. crude prices edged closer to $100 a barrel. [O/R]
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) led the sector’s gains for the second straight session, rising 2.6 percent to C$36.11.
Oil’s rise was supported by a surprisingly strong Conference Board index of U.S. consumer confidence, which jumped to 56.0 in November from an upwardly revised 40.9 the month before. [ID:nN1E7AR196]
“It’s been a very very big jump and the market wasn’t expecting it,” said Sal Masionis, a stockbroker at Brant Securities.
At 12:31 p.m. (1731 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 116.87 points, or 1 percent, at 11,757.08, its highest point since Nov. 23.
A sale of Italian debt helped markets open higher, but the near 8 percent yield on Italy’s three-year bonds dampened early optimism over the country’s ability to finance its debt. [ID:nL5E7MT29A]
Investors still held out hope that a meeting of European finance ministers would include some tangible steps to address the region’s spiraling debt problems, which have begun to spread to the euro zone’s top economies. [ID:nL5E7MS4MQ]
“Maybe there will be some sort of magical statement, but we need more than just statements, we need actual action and I’m not sure that Europe can move that fast,” said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities.
The TSX’s financial sector, which has little direct exposure to European debt assets, was one of the market’s biggest benefactors, climbing 1 percent.
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gained 1.4 percent to C$69.86 and Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) rose 2.6 percent to C$58.24.
Heavily weighted materials issues rose 0.8 percent, lifted by gold prices [GOL/] that steadied above $1,700 an ounce.
Among the sector’s leaders were Goldcorp (G.TO), up 1.3 percent at C$51.36, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), up 0.6 percent at C$51.50.
In individual company news, Research In Motion RIM.TO jumped nearly 8 percent to C$18.36 after it said it will introduce a software tool giving corporate customers the option of linking employees’ personal iPhones and Android smartphones to RIM’s BlackBerry network without compromising security. [ID:nT5E7MN00U]
($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Editing by Rob Wilson)