TSX hits near 11-week peak on hopes for Greece

Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:37pm EST
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose to its highest level in nearly 11 weeks on Monday, led by gains in commodity and financial issues, as the euro climbed on investor optimism that a deal may be reached on a Greek debt restructuring package.

Stocks leading the resource-heavy index higher included Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote), up 7.4 percent at C$19, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), which climbed 3.2 percent to C$40.21.

The index's energy sector gained 2 percent as the price of oil surged on an agreement among European Union governments to ban the import of Iranian oil by July 1. The move prompted renewed threats by Iran to close the key Strait of Hormuz oil shipping channel. <O/R>

Materials gained nearly 1 percent with Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) up 1.6 percent at C$47.28, as gold prices climbed on technical buying after the metal broke a key resistance level.

Financials rose 1.4 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) up 1.8 percent at C$54.82, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) up 1.3 percent at C$80.17, as the sector was swept higher with world stocks on signs of progress on a Greek debt restructuring. <MKTS/GLOB>

"We're tired of hearing the same old story and the same old negative headlines coming out of Europe," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice-president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"So any hint the situation is not getting worse, and in fact it might be getting incrementally better, it definitely helps sentiment."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 124.60 points, or 1.01 percent, at 12,521.70, after hitting a peak of 12,530.28, its highest level since November 8.   Continued...