TSX rallies on U.S. budget optimism

Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:09pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index jumped more than 1 percent on Monday, led by material and energy stocks as commodity prices advanced on hopes that a U.S. budget crisis will be averted.

Over the weekend, leading Democratic and Republican lawmakers expressed confidence that they could reach a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff", a mix of tax increases and spending cuts starting early in the new year unless there is a deal on Capitol Hill.

"We started to see some headlines on Friday about resolving the fiscal cliff problems that we're facing, and today we're getting some follow-through on that front," said Levente Mady, senior portfolio manager at PI Financial Corp in Vancouver.

"That's driving not just equities, but commodities and currencies and the rest of the world really in general," he said, noting that the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday week has historically trended higher.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 162.68 points, or 1.37 percent, at 12,040.40. All the 10 main sectors on the index were up.

Energy stocks rose 1.8 percent, tracking higher oil prices. Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) was up 3.3 percent at 32.59 and was the most influential gainer.

Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on optimism that a U.S. budget crisis will be averted and as rising violence in the Middle East raised concerns over oil supplies. <O/R>

Energy takeover targets Nexen Inc NXY.TO and Progress Energy Resources (PRQ.TO: Quote) bucked the broader trend after Canada's government signaled different treatment for state-owned enterprises than for private companies in evaluating whether to approve foreign investment. <ID:L1E8MJBK4> Nexen dropped 1.4 percent to C$25.32 and Progress lost 1.9 percent to C$20.05.   Continued...

A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch