TSX rallies as optimism for Europe, U.S. grows

Thu Oct 6, 2011 4:37pm EDT
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By Claire Sibonney and Ashleigh Patterson

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose sharply for a second day on Thursday, marking its biggest gain in nearly two months, as investors were encouraged by strength in U.S. economic data and signs that European officials were tackling the euro zone debt crisis.

All 10 index sectors were stronger, with powerhouse financials up 2 percent, energy up 3.6 percent and materials 4.3 percent higher.

Among the most heavily weighted advancers, Suncor Energy jumped 4.3 percent to C$28.69, Royal Bank of Canada rose 2.8 percent to C$47.96, and Potash Corp added 3.9 percent to C$48.36.

"The market is trading on a much firmer footing on hopes European policy players are merging toward bank recapitalization," said Fergal Smith, managing market strategist at Action Economics.

The European Central Bank threw another lifeline to struggling European banks through the purchase of covered bonds and with a renewed offer of longer-term loans to ward off a new credit crunch.

Also boosting sentiment, the Bank of England launched a second round of quantitative easing to defend Britain's faltering economy against the euro zone debt crisis.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 322.85 points, or 2.82 percent, at 11,780.07.

"The bounce this week has helped improve the technical backdrop as well," Smith said. Earlier in the week, the TSX hit a 23-month low.   Continued...

<p>Bay Street signs are seen in the heart of the financial district in Toronto, August 17, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>