CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises on G20 moves, higher oil

Thu Apr 2, 2009 10:40am EDT
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* TSX rises to highest level since early February

* Market focus on G20 talks

* Strong oil, banks underpin gains (Adds details, quote. Updates numbers)

TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index climbed to its highest level in about two months on Thursday, pushed up by initiatives taken by the G20 leaders to fight the economic crisis and by higher oil prices.

The index followed global stock markets higher as investors digested initiatives from the G20 summit in London, including pledges to triple funds for the International Monetary Fund to fight the economic crisis and to impose new regulations on financial markets. [nL1230573]

"What has come out of the G20 gives some hope that there will be an improvement in the economy if not late this year then the beginning of next year and that's caused oil prices to jump here," said Michael Sprung, president at Sprung and Co Investment Counsel.

Toronto's energy stocks were up 4.2 percent as the price for U.S. crude oil jumped more than 8 percent to $52.30 a barrel.

Among the energy heavyweights rising were Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote), which added 5.3 percent to C$53.45, and Petro-Canada PCA.TO, which climbed 4.9 percent to C$36.03.

Heavily weighted financial issues, which climbed 3 percent, also underpinned the market. All of the big banks gained ground, including Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote), which gained 2 percent to C$38.42, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote), which jumped 2 percent to C$48.59.   Continued...