RPT-CANADA STOCKS-TSX surges past 14,000 mark to 31-month high
(Repeats without changes)
* TSX up 129.83 points, or 0.93 pct, at 14,059.18
* Nine of 10 main groups end higher
* Highest close since July 4, 2008
* Energy jumps 1.97 pct, financials up 0.87 pct (Adds details, comment)
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index surged past the 14,000 mark on Wednesday, hitting a 31-month high, with energy and financial issues leading the charge.
"The market has had a nice tone to it all day ... People are clearly optimistic," said Bruce Latimer, a trader with Dundee Securities.
"(14,000) is just a psychological barrier, but I don't think it has any bearing on whether people are making money or losing money. People do look at them though."
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE unofficially closed 129.83 points, or 0.93 percent, higher at 14,059.18, its highest close since July 4, 2008.
"I don't think there's anything that's going to get in the way or stop it near term," said John Kurgan, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock Canada.
Nine of the index's 10 main groups advanced, with consumer discretionaries the lone decliner, retreating 0.19 percent.
Energy stocks received a boost from Brent oil prices which surged on unrest in the Middle East, while analysts' upgrades provided some support for financial issues and influential companies like Research In Motion RIM.TO.
"Any time there's a problem with Brent crude, you get companies like Suncor Energy moving to the upside," said Kurgan, noting the company's nearly 8 percent jump in the last week.
Suncor (SU.TO: Quote) climbed 3.77 percent to close at C$43.45, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO: Quote) jumped 4.19 percent to C$46.55. The overall energy group gained 1.97 percent.
Brent oil prices neared 2-1/2 year highs as tensions between Israel and Iran fueled existing worries about growing unrest in the region. [O/R] [ID:nLDE71F2BQ]
Financial stocks extended their recent gains, rising 0.87 percent to hit the group's highest level since May 2008. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) hit a record high, finishing up 1.55 percent at C$80.47. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) also notched a record high, rising 0.57 percent to C$60.21, while Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) edged up 0.25 percent to C$60.51.
"There's still that need for good dividend paying stocks. ... but the banks are looking a little stretched at this point in time. I'd have a problem buying bank stocks in here," said Kurgan.
The sector got a lift from Credit Suisse, which boosted its rating on Bank of Montreal to "neutral" from "underperform" and raised its price targets on five other Canadian banks. [ID:nWNAB2415]
"(The financials have) been in a nice move since the middle of January," said Latimer. "That gives the investors a little bit of confidence. The whole sector's been acting well and there hasn't been a lot of bad news."
RIM, which received a ratings upgrade by Citigroup, jumped 4.2 percent to C$67.25 to help lift the technology sector 1.14 percent.
Rogers Communications (RCIb.TO: Quote), which reported quarterly results that weren't as bad as feared, closed up 1.93 percent at C$35.39. [ID:nSGE71F06W]
Both Latimer and Kurgan said the equities market looked healthy but Kurgan noted that investors waiting on the sidelines for a dip could have a hard time entering the market.
"That money just sits on the sidelines. It's very difficult to buy and get in on these markets, because you're always fearful of a correction that's never coming and that's why most people miss these types of moves in the markets," he said.
($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Editing by Rob Wilson)
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