CANADA STOCKS-TSX closes higher on stronger oils, golds

Wed Dec 16, 2009 4:48pm EST
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 * 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)
 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 crude prices helped push up
shares of Suncor Energy SU.TO and other oil companies.
 Suncor, the biggest contributor to the index's gain, rose
1.7 percent to C$37.90, followed by fellow oil producer
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 gains came in the first half of the
session, before it slipped into a relatively tight range for
the remainder of the day, as has recently been the case.
 The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE 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.
 "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."
 Other key drivers behind Wednesday's gain included gold
miners, which climbed alongside gold prices. Barrick Gold Corp
ABX.TO rose 1.9 percent to C$42.29, while Eldorado Gold
ELD.TO ended up 4.2 percent at C$14.61.
 The TSX is now up 55.6 percent since it fell to a five-year
low in March. With many investors getting set to take off for
Christmas and New Year holidays, it appears that number will
not change much in the remaining days of 2009.
 "I don't look for a whole lot of clear direction in the
last ... trading days of the year," said Chandler. "It's going
to go up one day, down the next day and I don't see a big
breakout or breakdown at this point in time."
 ($1=$1.06 Canadian)
 (Editing by Rob Wilson)