April 30, 2008 / 2:53 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toronto stocks rally as resources push higher

(Updates to midmorning)

TORONTO, April 30 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index shot up on Wednesday morning, strengthened by rebounding resource shares, while better than expected economic data south of the border added confidence.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) was among the biggest gainers on the benchmark, rising C$2.83, or 3.4 percent, to C$85.64 after it said construction at its Horizon Oil Sands Project was 94 percent complete at the end of March. Canadian Natural plans to start producing oil there by the third quarter.

The energy sector as a whole pushed higher as crude prices rose before retreating again. The group was up 1.9 percent, with Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) up C$1.77, or 3.1 percent, at C$59.48.

Investors also took heart from data that showed the U.S. economy grew at a slightly stronger pace than expected in the first quarter. A decline in Canadian gross domestic product in February was largely ignored.

“They could have been worse,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Investment Management Inc, of the U.S. numbers. “It would suggest that the technical definition of a recession is not upon us, but we’re teetering on the brink.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 167.69 points, or 1.21 percent, at 13,993.29 in the morning with all but one of its 10 main sectors in an upswing.

The bounce helped the index regain some of the 260-point loss it saw on Tuesday as it was dragged down by tumbling commodity prices.

Brookfield Asset Management (BAMa.TO) also pulled the benchmark higher on Wednesday after it said its first-quarter profit was slightly higher despite a depreciation of its assets. Brookfield was up C$2.18, or 7.1 percent, at C$32.93.

Gold-mining companies pushed up 1.5 percent, helping the materials sector also gain 1.5 percent. Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO) advanced C$2.11, or 3.6 percent, to C$61.33. Also in the resource sector, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan POT.TO rose C$5.63, or 3.1 percent, to C$188.90.

Dorel Industries (DIIb.TO) said its first-quarter profit was boosted by strong sales at its core juvenile segment. Dorel’s shares added C$1.34, or 4.4 percent, to C$31.50.

Eyes are likely to remain glued south of the border as investors await an interest rate decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve later in the day.

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Peter Galloway

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