September 8, 2009 / 8:59 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-Energy drives TSX to highest close since October

 * TSX up 87.83 points, or 0.8 pct, to 11,105.30
 * Touches highest level since October 2008
 * Energy sector ends 2.45 percent higher  (Adds details, comments, official numbers)
 By Frank Pingue
 TORONTO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index raced to its loftiest level in nearly a year on Tuesday as a surge in commodity prices helped lift the resource-heavy index to its fourth straight higher close.
 The latest rally was driven by the weighty energy sector, which rose 2.45 percent alongside a move in oil prices to back above $70 a barrel. [O/R]
 Shares of Suncor Energy (SU.TO), the biggest driver behind the overall rally, rose 3 percent to C$35.04, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) closed up 3.45 percent at C$65.70
 The rally in the energy sector comes ahead of Wednesday's Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting, when most analysts expect the group, the source of more than a third of the world's oil supply, to maintain official output levels.
 The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended the session up 87.83 points, or 0.8 percent, at 11,105.30. However, that was well off the session high reached moments after the open, when the TSX shot ahead 1.4 percent to its highest level since Oct. 3, 2008.
 And while it backed off by the close, it still ended the session a whopping 48 percent above the five-year low it tumbled to in March.
 Analysts did not put much weight on the market's latest rally, which came after the Labor Day holiday weekend at a time when liquidity remains light and moves can often be volatile.
 "Up to now, the markets have been very thin and generally it takes a couple weeks after Labor Day for a lot of committees to meet and decide on a definite plan of action," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.
 "Three weeks from tomorrow you've got not only the end of the month but end of the quarter, and a little bit of performance anxiety here for a number of people who might be underweighted in equities."
 Keeping the broader index from hanging onto its early gains was a reversal in shares of gold-miners, which turned lower as the price of gold backed off an earlier move through the $1,000 per ounce psychological barrier. [GOL/]
 Shares of Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) ended down 2.4 percent at C$42.45, while Goldcorp (G.TO) shares shed 1.5 percent to close at C$44.29. The broader materials group, home to gold miners, ended unchanged.
 ($1=$1.08 Canadian)  (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)   

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