August 20, 2008 / 8:49 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks get big lift from resource shares

(Updates closing numbers, adds details, quotes)

*TSX index jumps 2 percent in broad rally

*Index logs biggest one-day advance in three weeks

*Energy leads the way up as oil prices firm

TORONTO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index surged 2 percent on Wednesday, its biggest advance in three weeks, yanked higher by rallying resource shares as oil prices firmed.

Energy shares led the broad rally as the price of oil rose 45 cents to $114.98 a barrel amid tensions between Russia and the United States over the latter’s missile shield agreement with Poland.

Oil producer Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO was up 7.5 percent at C$88.40. U.S. business giants Warren Buffett and Bill Gates toured Canadian Natural’s Horizon oil sands project in northern Alberta this week. See [ID:nN20454040]

The materials sector, home to resource shares, also pushed the benchmark up as base-metals miners gained, but gold producers cut earlier advances as gold dipped. Teck Cominco TCKb.TO added 5.8 percent to C$42.65.

“It seems to be more a case of sentiment than actual changes in the underlying commodities,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

“For the energy stocks, some of the big-cap, higher-quality producers have fallen a lot relative to the price of oil ... and a lot of them look pretty good here,” Gorman added.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 286.29 points, or 2.19 percent, at 13,350.14 with all 10 of its main sectors higher.

The energy and materials sectors climbed 4.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

In the oil patch, Suncor Energy SU.TO climbed 6.4 percent to C$59.89. In the materials group, fertilizer producer Agrium AGU.TO added 4 percent to C$89.80.

The large financial-services sector also supported the index, breaking a three-day slump and rising 1.2 percent. Bay Street’s banks have been bruised this week by resurgent worries over more impact from the credit crunch spilling over from the United States.

Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO gained 1.5 percent to C$47.80, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO was up 1.5 percent at C$59.33. The major Canadian banks are set to report quarterly results next week. ($1=$1.06 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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