October 23, 2008 / 8:54 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Bargain-hunting sparks late-day rally

* Energy stocks get late lift as oil firms above $67

* Materials group down 3.2 percent as metals prices slide

* Petro-Canada stock rises after quarterly results

(Adds official closing numbers, details)

TORONTO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index closed higher on Thursday as bargain-hunting sparked a late-day rally after a big drop earlier in the session.

In seesaw activity that spanned nearly 580 points from trough to peak, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 94.47 points, or 1.02 percent, at 9,331.35, with seven of its main sectors higher.

Heavily-weighted energy shares led the way up, rising 3.5 percent as oil rose on expectations of an OPEC supply cut [ID:nSYD377354].

Strong earnings from Petro-Canada PCA.TO [ID:nN23293318] and EnCana (ECA.TO) [ID:nBNG274906] helped to boost their share prices. Petro-Canada rose 9.4 percent to C$27.80, and EnCana was up 8.5 percent at C$55.05.

The resource-laden materials group fell 3.2 percent as gold and base metals prices dropped on recession fears. [ID:nN23450334]

Teck Cominco TCKb.TO sank 12.4 percent to C$12.54 after the miner said it plans to reduce its exploration budget and is considering asset sales to repay debt. [ID:nN23411992]

The big financial services group finished the day up 1.9 percent after falling earlier in the day alongside its global peers on concerns about loan losses, tight credit and deteriorating economies [ID:nLN557430], .

The index opened strongly but soon gave up gains as market focus turned from corporate results to anxiety about company forecasts as recession fears heightened. [ID:nN23445110]

It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that bargain-hunting set in.

$1=$1.25 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Peter Galloway

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