Bay St rallies in biggest gain in seven months

Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:21pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho and Leah Schnurr

TORONTO/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index racked up its biggest increase in seven months on Wednesday in another volatile session as investors dove back into shares that had recently sold off.

The TSX, which is heavily weighted with energy stocks, has been hit by the slide in crude prices and was caught up in the global market rout earlier this week that was fueled by concerns about China.

Despite faltering during the day, Toronto stocks were able to rally in the final hours of trading, helped by a nearly 4 percent surge in stocks on Wall Street. [.N]

The utilities sector .GSPTTUT, typically seen as a safe haven, fared the best, rising 3.4 percent, while tech shares .SPTTTK jumped 2.9 percent.

"The sentiment seems to be changing hour to hour," said Bryden Teich, associate portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management, in Toronto. "The moves that we saw early in the week were pretty violent."

"A lot of those more long-term defensive names that snapped down early in the week, you're seeing bounce back up today, that's what's helping push the market up," Teich said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 230.66 points, or 1.75 percent, to 13,381.59. It was the biggest percentage gain since late January.

Financial shares also contributed to gains despite a drop in Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) after quarterly earnings that showed a sharp spike in bad loans to the energy sector. RBC was among the biggest drags on the index, down 0.4 percent to C$72.1.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch