UPDATE 3-Toronto stocks strongly higher in broad rally

Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:00pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO, April 10 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index finished sharply higher on Thursday thanks to a broad late-day rally, supported by strength in resource and financial issues.

The jump put the index back at levels not seen since the end of February, and pushed it closer to the psychologically-important 14,000-mark.

Among resource stocks, Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO: Quote) was up C$2.98, or 1.7 percent, at C$181.90, and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) rose C$1.70, or 2.2 percent, to C$79.82.

The energy and materials sectors gained 1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively, even though prices for the underlying commodities were weaker following a sharp bounce on Wednesday.

Shares of utility TransAlta Corp (TA.TO: Quote) gained C$1.91, or 6 percent, to C$33.12 after it said that Unit 4 at its Sundance power plant in Alberta had returned to normal service on Wednesday. The utilities sector as a whole rose 2.1 percent.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 159.03 points, or 1.16 percent, at 13,909.58, with all 10 of its main sectors higher.

The financial sector also aided the afternoon jump, gaining 1.2 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) was up 96 Canadian cents, or 2.1 percent, at C$47.12, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) rose 79 Canadian cents, or 1.7 percent, to C$46.73.   Continued...