By Wojtek Dabrowski
TORONTO, Dec 28 (Reuters) - The main index of the Toronto Stock Exchange rallied almost 150 points on Friday, as resource shares piggybacked on stronger gold prices to lead a broad-based rally.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 145.77 points, or 1.07 percent, to close at 13,821.34 in the second-last session of 2007.
Of the TSX’s 10 main subgroups, nine rose. The gainers included energy and the resource-laden materials sector, which added 1.28 percent and 2.2 percent respectively.
“We’ve got strong gold prices, which are certainly helping us here,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod.
U.S. gold futures for February settled $10.90 higher at $842.70 an ounce, building on a weak U.S. dollar and geopolitical uncertainty after the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
This helped Toronto-listed gold companies such as Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), which added C$2.45, or 6.2 percent, to hit C$42.03. Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) rose C$2.97, or 5.9 percent, to C$53.50 and was the day’s top net gainer.
Gold is seen as a safe-haven investment and the price often rises during times of unrest.
Ketchen also said global security concerns will likely carry over into January.
“I think that, as we enter into 2008, there’s going to be a significant amount of caution,” he said, also citing further fallout from the “mess” in U.S. credit markets.
Meanwhile, investors shouldn’t put too much weight on a one-day index chart because volumes tend to drop off in the holiday period, said Julie Brough, vice-president at Morgan Meighen & Associates.
“This period between Christmas and New Year’s means nothing in the end because nobody’s working,” she said.
Financials, which with energy and materials make up the three main pillars of the Toronto market, also rose 0.86 percent.
The day’s sole losing group was information technology, which dipped 0.21 percent. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO finished 60 Canadian cents lower at C$114.80.
South of the border, U.S. stocks finished flat as weak new home sales data reinforced housing-market concerns. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI eked out a gain of 6.26 points, or 0.05 percent, to close at 13,365.87.
The Nasdaq slipped 2.33 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 2,674.46.
$1=$0.98 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; Editing by Rob Wilson