U.S. jobs data helps TSX rise after 3-day loss

Wed Mar 7, 2012 4:59pm EST
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By Jennifer Kwan

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.

Big-name leaders included oil companies Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), up 1.2 percent at C$33.72, and Cenovus (CVE.TO: Quote), up 2.2 percent at C$36.64, both of which rose with the price of oil.

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".   Continued...

A Bay Street sign is seen at the financial district in Toronto, October 10, 2008.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch