CANADA STOCKS-Commodities lead TSX to 17-month high

Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:32pm EDT
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* TSX ends up 0.67 percent at 12,089.40

* Materials lead rise as metal prices climb

* Market cheers Fed's renewal of pledge to keep rates low

* WestJet falls sharply after CEO resigns (Adds details, quotes)

By John McCrank

TORONTO, March 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index ended at its highest point since September 2008 on Tuesday, aided by stronger commodity prices and a renewed pledge by the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep interest rates very low for an extended period.

The index's materials sector led the way, rising 1.5 percent, with First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO: Quote) up 3.5 percent at C$91.28 after the miner's quarterly results beat analysts' expectations. [ID:nSGE62F0BO]

Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO: Quote) rose 2.6 percent to C$60.68, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO: Quote) was up 1.9 percent at 40.64.

The price of gold was up 2 percent on the day.   Continued...