CANADA STOCKS-TSX marks 4th day of big gains

Thu Oct 8, 2009 5:22pm EDT
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 * 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 that helped the index hit a two-week high 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/] [FRX/] [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 closed up 134.63
points, or 1.19 percent, to 11,484.51. Eight of its 10 sectors
climbed. Over the past four days, the index has gained 4.8
 Gold-mining shares were mixed as some investors booked
profits on big names that have rallied strongly this week as
gold prices have advanced above $1,060 per ounce.
 Barrick Gold ABX.TO was a key driver of the index early
in the day, but ended off 0.29 percent at C$41.65. Goldcorp
G.TO also eased, down 0.25 percent at C$44.60.
 But Yamana Gold YRI.TO gained 5.31 percent to C$12.88 as
several brokerages raised their share-price targets for the
gold miner the day after it announced a quarterly production
rise. [ID:nN06440203] [RCH/CA]
 Teck Resources TCKb.TO rose 6.9 percent to C$32.41, the
most notable non-gold riser in the index's materials group.
 "It's a continued overall play on the U.S. dollar and the
recovery in the global economy," said Ian Nakamoto, director of
research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
 "People just want to sell the U.S. dollar and buy other
currencies, especially the commodity currencies such as Canada
and also to buy commodities and commodity-related equities."
 The same commodities driving equity markets in turn helped
the Canadian dollar zoom to a one-year high against the U.S.
currency. [CAD/]
 Financial stocks were unable to hold early gains. Bank of
Nova Scotia BNS.TO led all heavyweight 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 U.S. retailers had
their first monthly sales gain since August 2008. A separate
report showed inventories at U.S. wholesalers fell for the 12th
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. [ID:nN08392997]
 Markets are now awaiting Friday's September jobs data, with
the report expected to show the Canadian economy created 5,000
jobs. [ID:nN07480164]
 Active issues on Thursday included HudBay MineralsHBM.TO,
which hit a 16-month high after it said it would put
development of its Lalor gold-zinc deposit in Manitoba on a
fast track, and that exploration successes at the site
suggested the beginning of a much bigger find. HudBay closed up
6.6 percent at C$14.60.
($1=$1.06 Canadian)
 (Additional reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Peter