* TSX 15.55 points, or 0.12 percent, higher at C$13,380.70
* Highest close since Aug. 29, 2008
* Six of the 10 main groups advance
* Crude oil jumps above $90
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index eked out a small gain on Wednesday to close at its highest level in more than 27 months as stronger energy issues offset a drop in materials stocks.
The heavyweight energy group led six of the index’s 10 main groups higher, and was up 1.07 percent as oil prices jumped above $90 a barrel for the first time in more than two years. [O/R]
A third straight drop in U.S. crude inventories and cold weather helped lift oil prices. Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was up 2.19 percent at C$38.34, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose 1.19 percent to C$44.38, while Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO climbed 2 percent to C$26.00.
The materials group, home to mining companies, was down 1.19 percent. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) was off 1.24 percent to C$51.97, while Agnico Eagle (AEM.TO) slid 1.95 percent to C$76.35.
Gold miners moved in tandem with gold prices, which fell in light trading. [GOL/]
“The euro is dropping a little bit on some sovereign concerns, so you’re seeing the U.S. dollar strengthen, putting a little bit of dampening on gold prices,” said Youssef Zohny, an associate portfolio manager at Van Arbor Asset Management.
“You’re seeing a little bit of profit-taking into the year-end.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 15.55 points, or 0.12 percent, at C$13,380.70. The last time it closed higher than that level was on Aug. 29, 2008, when it was at 13,771.25.
South of the border, the S&P 500 .SPX climbed above 1,255.08, a level last seen in September 2008 before investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed.
Overall trading was light, however, as the Christmas holiday weekend approached. The TSX will close early on Friday. In the United States, markets are closed on Friday and will be open again on Dec. 27.
“The market’s taking a little breather from its rally,” said Zohny. “Economic data out of the U.S. today was a little bit worse than expected in terms of GDP numbers, so that’s keeping a lid on the rally.” [ID:nN22291718]
Shares of MI Developments MIMa.TO, the property arm of Magna International, soared 44.93 percent to C$28.00 after news that Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach was set to give up control of the company in exchange for horse racing track assets. [ID:nN22100327]
($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Peter Galloway)