CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises to highest level in nearly six months

Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:48pm EST
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* TSX up 30.02 pts, or 0.2 pct, at 12,731.28

* Highest close since Aug. 31, 2011

* Energy, material issues lift index

* U.S. jobless claims hold near 4-yr lows

* Euro zone contraction forecast for 2012

By Jon Cook

TORONTO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Canadian stocks ended at their highest level in nearly six months on Thursday as oil and gas shares jumped on surging oil prices and as encouraging U.S. jobs data offset a pessimistic outlook for the euro zone economy.

Most of the index's 10 main sectors were higher, led by a 1 percent jump in oil and gas shares after Brent oil priced in euros hit a record high on Thursday on heightened tension between Iran and the West.

Suncor Energy was the biggest heavyweight gainer, rising 2.2 percent to C$36.39. Pacific Rubiales surged 7.8 percent to C$29.44 on a Royal Bank of Canada rating upgrade after the energy producer said on Thursday its Colombian oil reserves grew by 52 percent in 2011.   Continued...