February 25, 2008 / 3:55 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks climb, buoyed by energy firms

TORONTO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index climbed in morning trading after a see-saw start on Monday, as a surge in energy producers overshadowed weakness in gold and financial stocks.

The index was yanked up by producers such as Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and EnCana (ECA.TO) that benefited from rising natural gas prices.

Gold stocks opened higher but quickly fell back, along with spot gold prices which dipped more than $10 to $936 an ounce on Monday, after heading toward $1000 an ounce late last week.

Joe Ismail, technical analyst at Maison Placements Canada, said the TSX had approached some profit-taking resistance around the 13,700-point level, but that hot commodities should be the story for the first half of the year.

“We’ve seen some of these metals stocks go wild in the last two or three weeks, and this is the beginning of a cyclical uptrend after the consolidation,” he said.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 38.94 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,624.87. Half its 10 main groups rose.

The energy sector surged 1.6 percent with Canadian Natural up C$2.63 at C$71.25, and EnCana up C$1.37 at C$73.13.

Meanwhile, the gold subsector declined 1.4 percent, led by Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the world’s biggest producer, which fell C$1.15 to C$49.48.

The financial sector — which enjoyed a late rally in the previous session — fell 0.6 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) off 60 Canadian cents at C$49.90.

The International Monetary Fund said in a report on Monday Canadian economic growth will slow to 1.8 percent this year. It said Canada was vulnerable to economic weakness in the United States, its biggest trading partner. For details, see: [nN25500146]

$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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