4 Min Read
* TSX up 2.4 percent on day, 1.34 percent on week
* Financials surge 5.7 percent on Wells Fargo news
* Positive sentiment overshadows dismal jobs data
* Oil prices up 5 percent, lift energy stocks
* Telecoms drag as Telus sees lower wireless results (Adds details)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index closed 2.4 percent higher on Thursday, recording its fifth straight weekly gain, as financial issues got a lift from upbeat news from the U.S. banking sector and higher oil prices boosted energy shares.
U.S. bank Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) said it expected to post record first-quarter profit, which fueled investor hopes that the battered U.S. banking sector may be headed for stability. [ID:nN09260398]
The news buoyed shares of Canada's biggest banks and insurers, helping the TSX financial sector jump 5.7 percent. Manulife Financial (MFC.TO), the index's main lift, rose 12.23 percent to C$18.50. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gained 5.1 percent to C$46.75, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) climbed 4.3 percent to C$39.58.
The U.S. banking news was a welcome distraction from data that showed Canada posted higher than expected job losses in March.
The unemployment rate jumped to a seven-year high of 8 percent last month and the economy lost 61,300 jobs, resulting in the sharpest five-month employment decline since the 1982 recession, Statistics Canada said. [ID:nN09258996]
"We had some pretty dismal jobs numbers in Canada, but that's been overshadowed by positive sentiment surrounding the financial sector," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
"Since the financial sector has been front and center in the midst of this turmoil, any improvement reflects positively on the rest of the economy and the rest of the equity markets."
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 2.43 percent, or 217.84 points, at 9,187.12. The rally added to the the Toronto Stock Exchange's 1.6 percent gain on Wednesday. The TSX rose 1.34 percent on the week.
Eight of the TSX's 10 sectors were higher.
The hefty energy group advanced 3.3 percent as oil prices climbed above $52 a barrel as higher stock markets revived thoughts of an economic recovery and increased demand for commodities. [ID:nSP226434]
Suncor Energy (SU.TO) jumped 4.9 percent to C$32, while Petro-Canada PCA.TO was up 5.7 percent to C$39.63.
Materials, off 2.9 percent, were held back by gold issues that fell alongside the price of bullion. Telecoms, the other sector in decline on Thursday, fell 4.6 percent.
"The market is getting a little bit less risk averse and they're moving into some more cyclicals," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.
Telus Corp (T.TO) said first-quarter financial results for its wireless unit will be squeezed by lower than expected subscriber growth and customer spending. [ID:nN09261062]
Canwest Global Communications CorpCGS.TO reported a ballooning second-quarter loss after taking a C$1.19 billion writedown, and said the outlook for advertising revenue remains grim, sending its shares down almost 5 percent before they rebounded, closing at 32 Canadian cents, up half a Canadian cent. [ID:nN08532553]
The Toronto Stock Exchange will be closed on Friday for the Easter holidays.
$1=$1.23 Canadian Additional reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway