(Updates to midmorning)
*TSX climbs slightly higher after choppy open
*Resources gain along with commodity prices
*Financials drag due to credit crunch woes
TORONTO, June 27 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index climbed higher at midmorning on Friday after an uncertain start, propped up by resource issues amid higher prices for oil and other commodities.
A record high for oil, as well as advances in other commodities helped support the heavyweight resource sector, but gains were hampered as worries crept in over the impact of high commodities prices on the economy.
The large financial group weighed to the downside, hurt by nagging concerns over further fallout from the credit crunch.
Research In Motion RIM.TO was the biggest net loser, shedding C$5.74, or 4.6 percent, to C$119.40 following a sharp fall on Thursday.
“It would have been nice to see a little more air under the wings today (but) people are pretty bugged by the energy price,” said Rick Hutcheon, president and chief operating officer at RKH Investments.
“You’ve got Lehman out today casting some negative comments on some of the banking sector in the U.S., and that’s not going to help either.”
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 52.72 points, or 0.37 percent, at 14,344.86 with just four of its 10 main sectors higher.
A report from Lehman Brothers said that Merrill Lynch & Co MER.N will likely see $5.4 billion worth of writedowns in the second quarter, adding to concern of more losses voiced earlier in the week, and rattling Toronto’s financial stocks.
They were down 0.5 percent, with Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) slipping 55 Canadian cents, or 1.2 percent, to C$47.35, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) off 48 Canadian cents, or 0.8 percent, at C$58.10.
The energy and materials sectors added 1.3 percent and 1.9 percent respectively, with Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) up C$1.71, or 1.7 percent, at C$100.39, and Goldcorp (G.TO) rising C$1.85, or 4.1 percent, to C$46.70.
Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO), Canada’s No. 2 cable and satellite-TV company, popped up 19 Canadian cents, or 1 percent, to C$19.52 after it posted a gain in third-quarter profit before the market open. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway)