* TSX gains 1.19 percent to 11,484.51
* Higher commodity prices help power rally
* Improved sentiment on global economy helps (Updates to close)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index sailed to its fourth day of triple-digit gains on Thursday as firm commodity prices and fresh signs of a global economic recovery fueled key energy shares.
Top movers were mostly from the oil and gas group, led by EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), up 3.49 percent to C$63.10. Canadian Natural Resources <CNQ.TO rose 3.1 percent to C$72.89, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) climbed 2.64 percent to C$37.71.
TSX’s heavy weighting in resource issues benefited from record high gold prices, a weaker U.S. dollar and a jump in oil prices above $71 a barrel. [GOL/] [O/R]
In addition, a surprise profit posted by aluminum producer Alcoa Inc [ID:nN07320124], followed by a slate of positive economic news, cheered investors.
“The U.S. dollar weakness was rather significant. That, and the Alcoa announcement, caused all the commodities to take off,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd., in Calgary.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE gained 134.63 points, or 1.19 percent, to 11,484.51. Eight of 10 sectors were higher.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) led all influential decliners, dropping 0.7 percent to C$47.33, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) lost 0.4 percent to C$56.08.
“Today is really a commodity story so there may be some rotation going out of the financials and into the commodities again,” Kerkovius said.
In economic news, new weekly jobless claims in the United States dropped to a nine-month low, while retailers saw its first monthly sales gain since August 2008. A separate report showed inventories at U.S. wholesalers fell for the twelth consecutive month in August. [ID:nN08520274]
Other encouraging data included Canadian housing starts, which fell 4.6 percent in September from August but still came in ahead of expectations. The report increased investor optimism that the economy is pulling out of recession. [ID:nN08392997]
(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; Editing by Frank McGurty)