TSX has biggest one-day jump this month

Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:19pm EST
 
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Stocks had their biggest rise this month on Tuesday as resource issues rose in response to improved economic data out of the United States and Germany, and on renewed hopes the euro zone's debt crisis can be contained.

All 10 of the TSX's main sectors were higher, led by materials and energy issues, as commodity prices rose after U.S. November housing starts hit a 1-1/2 year high, suggesting the battered U.S. housing market was starting to recover.

The healthy housing data followed on the heels of a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate in November to 8.6 percent from 9 percent the previous month. [ID:nKWSbdbJa]

"You're beginning to see some of the drags stabilize and modestly abate," said Stephen Wood, chief investment strategist for Russell Investments in New York.

"It would be difficult to paint a robust economic environment, but there is a measurable upward grind in the U.S. economic data," added Wood.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 177.18 points, or 1.54 percent, at 11,716.88. It was its highest close in a week.

Mining stocks drove gains in the heavily weighted material sector. Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) climbed 2.5 percent to C$47.45, while diversified base metal miner Teck Resources TCKb.TO jumped more than 4 percent to C$35.65.

There was also some positive news for Europe on Tuesday as data showed German business sentiment rose sharply in December, according to Ifo, a Munich-based think-tank, underscoring the resilience of Europe's largest economy and casting a rare positive light on the euro zone.   Continued...