CANADA STOCKS-TSX ends higher on oil boost, U.S. recovery hopes

Mon Apr 5, 2010 4:40pm EDT
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* TSX gains 0.29 percent to 12,186.35

* Pares gains after hitting highest level since Sept. 2008

* Energy posts biggest rise as crude oil rises above $86 (Adds details)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, April 5 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose to an 18-month high on Monday before paring gains, as rising oil prices and firm U.S. economic data bolstered hopes for a sustained recovery.

Investors welcomed fresh reports that showed the U.S. services sector grew above expectations in March and pending homes sales accelerated more than anticipated in February. [ID:nN05117920].

The reports reinforced optimism stirred by Friday's news that U.S. nonfarm payrolls had risen at the fastest pace in three years, the strongest signal yet that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining a solid footing. [ID:nN01126422]

The brightening economic outlook helped push oil to an 18-month high on Monday, rising above $86 a barrel and sent the TSX's heavily weighted energy sector up 1.85 percent. [O/R] Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote) and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) each gained more than 2 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 35.29 points, or 0.29 percent, at 12,186.35. Earlier, it hit 12,203.39, its highest since September 2008.   Continued...