TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Wednesday, ending a three-day streak of declines, on upbeat U.S. private-sector jobs data and hopes that Greece's debt restructuring will go through.
Also in the index's oil and gas group, which climbed nearly 1 percent, Talisman Energy TLM.TO gained 2 percent to C$13.25, while Nexen NXY.TO added 1.6 percent to C$19.54.
Stock markets around the world drew support from figures that showed the pace of job creation by U.S. private employers accelerated in February. The private sector added 216,000 jobs, topping economists' expectations for a gain of 208,000.
As well, major banks and pension funds threw their weight behind Greece's bond swap offer to private creditors on Wednesday. The move suggested it is increasingly likely that the deal will go through and clear the way for a bailout package to avert a chaotic Greek debt default.
"The news that the Greek debt swap is on track, hopefully, that's brought some confidence back into the market. The (U.S. private-sector) jobs numbers has added an element of stability as well," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
Picardo also said the market was stabilizing after a steep 1.8 percent drop on Tuesday. It was the index's worst selloff this year on fears of recession in Europe and after the lowest annual growth outlook in China in eight years.
"I think today's gain is some bargain-hunting after yesterday's steep sell-off," said Picardo, who described Tuesday's action as "very measured".
"There wasn't really any element of panic," he said.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the day up 51.53 points, or 0.42 percent, at 12,350.16, with eight of its 10 main sectors rising.
U.S. markets added to gains after the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. Federal Reserve is considering a new type of mortgage and Treasury bond-buying program. The report came after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke disappointed many in financial markets last week by giving no clear indication that he plans to spur faster growth by pushing for another round of asset purchases, or quantitative easing. Quantitative easing is roughly money creation to stimulate the economy, [nL2E8E77SU]
Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO dropped 0.6 percent to C$52.63, after it said it will acquire privately held U.S. energy investment bank Howard Weil Inc, boosting its oil and gas presence as crude prices sit near four-year highs.
Air Canada ACb.TO tumbled 4 percent to 93 Canadian cents as it braced on Wednesday for the possibility of a crippling strike during next week's busy March Break travel period.
Research In Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O fell 2 percent to C$12.89 after BMO Capital Markets said the BlackBerry maker's revenue and margins will continue to disappoint in the coming quarters due to a lack of clarity on the launch and impact of its latest version of the BlackBerry.
Patent licensing company Wi-Lan Inc WIN.TO WILN.O gained 3.7 percent at C$5.08 after it hiked its quarterly dividend and said it would buy back shares this year.
Editing by Peter Galloway