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TSX buoyed by commodities, Greece deal

03/05/10

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index was higher on Monday morning as strengthening oil prices and relief that the Greek debt debacle had been stabilized by a record bailout boosted heavily financial and energy shares.

The index's energy sector was up 0.7 percent as Suncor Energy Inc , Canada's biggest oil company, gained 0.5 percent to C$34.93 and EnCana Corp , the country's largest producer of natural gas, edged 0.3 percent higher to C$33.69.

Oil rose above $86 a barrel, but concerns about the oil spill in the United States threatened to pressure prices.

"You've got commodities a little bit better here today and the market has just got a little bit of a bounce back in it," said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities, Latimer said.

Among financial shares, Royal Bank of Canada , the country's biggest lender, jumped 1.4 percent to C$62.47, while No. 2 Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.9 percent to C$76.21.

The index's financial group as a whole rose 0.8 percent as a German official said on Monday that Greece may not even need to take advantage of the full volume of a 110 billion euro ($146 billion) bailout package agreed to by the euro zone and International Monetary Fund.

"The important thing is the issue is being addressed rather than allowed to fester, so that's certainly a step in the right direction," Latimer said.

Also encouraging the market were U.S. figures showing a rise in consumer and construction spending.

At 10:20 a.m., the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index <.GSPTSE> was up 43.52 points, or 0.36 percent, at 12,254.22. Seven of the 10 groups were higher.

Gold rose to a 2010 high but the move was not enough to push gold-mining stocks higher as investors took profits after a recent rally.

Barrick Gold Corp , the world's biggest bullion producer, slumped 1.7 percent to C$43.56, while Goldcorp Inc lost 1.4 percent at C$ 43.30.

Mid-cap gold miner Red Back Mining plunged more than 5 percent to C$25.33, after releasing its quarterly earnings.

Shaw Communications Inc dropped 2.8 percent to C$18.55, after it reached a deal with the debtholders of Canwest Global Communications to acquire the television operations of the bankrupt media company for C$2 billion ($1.97 billion) including assumed debt.

Torstar Corp was down more than 1 percent at C$11.05 after the company submitted an offer to purchase Canwest's newspaper and digital businesses.

($1=$1.01 Canadian)

(Reporting by Claire Sibonney, editing by Peter Galloway)










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