February 26, 2008 / 5:54 PM / in 10 years

UPDATE 2-Toronto stocks rally with oils, financials

(Updates numbers, adds details, quotes)

TORONTO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index picked up steam in the early afternoon on Tuesday, jumping more than 100 points as energy and materials shares gained as commodity prices strengthened.

Oil and gas shares led the way up, adding 1.8 percent as the price of oil vaulted over $100 a barrel, buoyed by cold weather in Europe and the United States, and the OPEC president’s view that the group will not raise output at its meeting next week.

Among the oils, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was up C$2.36, or 2.4 percent, at C$101.70, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rose C$1.85, or 2.6 percent, to C$73.41.

The materials and financial sectors, which combined make up nearly half of the index, also lifted the market, gaining 0.8 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

Teck Cominco TCKb.TO rose C$1.37, or 3.7 percent, to C$38.74, while Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) moved up C$1.77, or 2.6 percent, at C$69.87.

“I would like to think the market is, in the short run, over sold, and it doesn’t take very much - you get a few people wanting to come in to buy a few things and next thing you know, the market starts to move up,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. “I suspect there’s still a lot of cash out there.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 129.68 points, or 0.95 percent, at 13,827.13 with all but two of its 10 main sectors pushing higher.

The Toronto benchmark was able to shrug off earlier downward pressure generated by the release of more weak U.S. economic data. U.S. producer prices jumped in January, topping the Street’s expectations, and fueling worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve might not be able to continue cutting interest rates.

“Everything’s been very negative for the last month-and-a-half, (so) even the bad news now is starting to be reflected as maybe in the marketplace,” Michael said.

On the downside, soft drink maker Cott Corp (BCB.TO) was the biggest percentage loser, giving up 34 percent, after key customer Wal-Mart (WMT.N) gave notice it would reduce U.S. shelf space for some soft drinks. Cott was down C$1.36 at C$2.64.

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion RIM.TO was down C$1.59, or 1.5 percent, at C$106.86.

As well, investors were anticipating the release of the federal budget later in the day.

$1=$0.98 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway

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