* Buffett’s $5 bln Goldman bet lifts market mood
* Financials flat on concerns over U.S. bailout plan
* Energy stocks gain as oil firms to $108 a barrel (Adds details)
TORONTO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index rose on Wednesday morning on strength in commodity issues and a boost in sentiment from a $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N).
The purchase of the Goldman stake by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) helped lift the market’s mood, said Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal. But investors remained worried about the fate of A U.S. rescue plan for the financial sector.
The U.S. government’s push for quick congressional approval of the $700 billion bailout hit a major obstacle on Tuesday as some senators said the plan puts taxpayers at excessive risk. [ID:nN23313135]
Shortly after 11:00 a.m., the TSX financials group was flat, down 0.01 percent. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) was up 0.8 percent at C$50.88, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) rose 1.1 percent to C$62.96.
“Right now, the name of the game is whether or not Congress will accept the $700 billion bailout,” said Campeau. “Speculation is around that, and the market is focused on that.”
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 85.29 points, or 0.68 percent, at 12,617.92, with four of its 10 main groups higher.
The heavyweight energy sector was up 1.8 percent as oil edged higher to around $108 a barrel.
EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) climbed 1.9 percent to C$74.72, while Nexen Inc NXY.TO rose 2.7 percent to C$27.21.
Late on Tuesday, Nexen said it expects significantly lower production volumes from its U.S. Gulf operations for the rest of the third quarter due to damage from Hurricane Ike. It warned it is unlikely to meet its 2008 production targets. [ID:nBNG36200]
The materials group added 1.2 percent even as metals prices eased. Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO climbed 2.4 percent to C$171.89, while Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO) was up 2.7 percent at C$68.32.
In company news, Royal Bank of Canada said on Wednesday Charles Winograd, chairman and chief executive of RBC Capital Markets, will retire on Oct. 31 after 12 years with the bank. [ID:nN24437723]
Elsewhere in the financial sector, Fairfax Financial holdings Ltd (FFH.TO) said it will buy 9.5 million common shares of Ridley Inc RCL.TO, an animal feed producer, at C$8.50 per share. [ID:nWNAB2585] Fairfax fell 3.3 percent to C$325.97.
Third-quarter profit rose 4 percent at money management firm AGF Management (AGFb.TO) as interest, amortization and taxes were lower, but global market volatility dragged revenue down. AGF slipped 0.3 percent to C$19.95. ($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)