Energy issues pull Toronto stocks broadly higher

Wed Dec 5, 2007 5:21pm EST
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended sharply higher on Wednesday, in a broad rally helped by strong energy issues amid news of an oil sands joint venture between Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO: Quote) and BP Plc (BP.L: Quote).

The venture will link a BP refinery in Ohio with Husky's Sunrise project in Alberta's oil sands. The news made Husky's stock one of the biggest net advancers by weight, up C$2.14, or 5.5 percent, to C$41.29.

Also putting interest in energy issues was news that OPEC would keep oil output unchanged. Elsewhere in the sector, Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was up C$3.74, or 3.8 percent, at C$102.62, while the group as a whole was up 2 percent.

"(It's) another oil sands business moving forward, so I think, in spite of what's going on with royalties in Alberta, there are companies who are looking longer term and are prepared to work through it," said Brian Pow, vice-president, research and equity analyst, at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.

The composite index also got broad support from optimism over reports in the U.S. that pointed to strength in the world's largest economy and calmed jitters over a possible recession south of the border.

"This is the day everyone wants to be bullish, tomorrow might be different," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 154.92 points, or 1.14 percent, at 13,734.54 with all but one of the TSX's 10 main sectors in positive territory.

The industrials sector rose 2.8 percent, while WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA.TO: Quote) gained 93 Canadian cents, or 4.3 percent, to C$22.58 after it said it flew fuller planes in November.   Continued...

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>