* TSX up 181.81 points at 10,987.14.
* Oil companies and gold miners drive rally (Adds details and comments)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index was sharply higher on Thursday morning after four straight lower closes as Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and other energy shares got a boost from expectations for U.S. economic growth.
Shares of Canadian Natural Resources were up 2.7 percent at C$72.38, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) rose 2 percent to C$36.59. The two companies were among the key drivers behind the early rise.
The rally in energy shares was aided by higher oil prices after data from the United States, the world’s biggest energy consumer, showed the economy there returned to growth in the third quarter. [ID:nN29354547]
Gold-mining stocks also helped power the TSX rally as gold prices rebounded from three-week lows as the U.S. dollar weakened. A weak greenback benefits gold, often seen as an alternative to the U.S. currency as an asset. [ID:nLT261249]
Shares of Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) were up 4.7 percent at C$38.80, while Goldcorp (G.TO) rose 2.8 percent to C$39.84.
Before the market opened, Barrick reported a third-quarter net loss as it absorbed a charge to unwind gold hedges, but the Canadian miner said core earnings rose. [ID:nN29507727]
Other stocks on the move included Teck Resources TCKb.TO, which rose 3.9 percent to C$31.94 after the base metals miner said its third-quarter profit rose 44 percent. [ID:nN28159071]
Shares of Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) dropped 7 percent to C$61.42 after the company reported a net loss late on Wednesday. [ID:nN28106314]
At 10:10 a.m. (1410 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 181.81 points, or 1.68 percent, at 10,987.14.
The TSX rally comes after a sharp slide on Wednesday that left the index at its lowest level in nearly two months.
“What a difference a day makes,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities. “The U.S. dollar had been strong the last few days which worked against the Canadian market, being a commodity-driven market.”
($1=$1.07 Canadian) (Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway)