December 10, 2008 / 9:36 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX gets boost from energy shares, ends higher

* Higher commodity prices help propel market rally

* Concern about U.S. auto bailout weighs on financials

* Toronto market has advanced in 3 of last 4 sessions (Adds details, comments and official numbers)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended higher on Wednesday as signs of reduced oil supplies sparked a rally in energy shares, but financials capped the gains as they tumbled on economic worries and concerns over a bailout for U.S. automakers.

Oil prices increased 3 percent as Saudi Arabia told major customers it was reducing supplies substantially next month in a move that could bring the kingdom’s output below its implied OPEC target. That helped the energy sector rally 5.9 percent.

But nagging concerns about Canada’s economy, coupled with uncertainty over the fate of a rescue plan for U.S. automakers -- which bogged down Wednesday in political wrangling in Washington -- sent another chill through financials, which make up about a third of the broader TSX index.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE jumped 236.44 points, or 2.82 percent, to 8,634.00, with six of its 10 main sectors ending higher.

The index is now up 6.4 percent this week after sagging 12.4 percent last week.

“There seems to be sort of a slow sentiment shift starting to take place,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary. “But we’ve seen it before and things can change very quickly and very hard to the downside.”

The rise in oil prices, which came on the heels of a drop of nearly 4 percent in the previous session, paved the way for some big-name companies to contribute to the broader index’s rise.

EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) rose 6.4 percent to C$59.64, while Suncor Energy (SU.TO) ended with a gain of 11.4 percent to C$26.70.

Financials ended the session 1.69 percent lower. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) dropped 3.4 percent to C$31.24, while Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) fell 6 percent to C$24.07.

Concerns about the domestic economy were fueled earlier this week as the Bank of Canada declared for the first time that Canada is entering a recession.

$1=$1.26 Canadian

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