December 16, 2009 / 9:27 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX closes higher, boosted by oil-price jump

 * TSX rises 96.02 points to 11,637.04
 * Hits highest level since Dec. 4
 * Bulk of gains come at start of session  (Adds details, comments and official numbers)
 By Frank Pingue
 TORONTO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index hit its loftiest level in nearly two weeks on Wednesday en route to a higher close as a rise in oil prices helped push up shares of Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and other oil companies.
 Suncor Energy, the biggest contributor to the index’s gain, rose 1.7 percent to C$37.90, followed by fellow oil company Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), which gained 2.4 percent to C$71.89.
 Energy shares rallied alongside a surge in oil prices to near $73 a barrel after data showed crude stocks in the United States fell more than expected last week. [O/R]
 The bulk of the TSX’s gain came in the first half of the session before, as has recently been the case, it slipped into a relatively tight range for the remainder of the day.
 “The market is at a point now where it is not overvalued, it’s not undervalued, it’s probably fairly valued here,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president, at Canaccord Wealth Management in Waterloo, Ontario. “It’s going to need some kind of a precipitator to have it move dramatically one way or the other right now.”
 The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE unofficially ended up 96.02 points, or 0.83 percent, at 11,637.04. Earlier it rose to 11,691.73, which marked its highest level since Dec. 4.
 ($1=$1.06 Canadian)  (Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Peter Galloway)                                      

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