CANADA STOCKS-TSX edges up as commodities rally on Fed vow

Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:36pm EDT
 
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 * TSX up 11.26 points, or 0.09 percent, at 12,100.66
 * Energy leads index higher with oil above $83
 * Poll shows TSX flat at mid-year, rising by year-end
 (Updates to close, adds details and quotes)
 By Claire Sibonney
 TORONTO, March 17 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
closed higher on Wednesday, hitting its highest point since
September 2008 earlier in the day, as commodity prices rose
after the U.S. Federal Reserve's renewed pledge to keep
interest rates low for an extended period.
 Energy producers led the gains as oil rose toward $83 a
barrel, supported by a weaker U.S. dollar [ID:nN17169695] and
higher demand in the United States, while OPEC decided to leave
output targets unchanged. [O/R]
 Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), Canada's biggest oil company, rose
2.4 percent to C$32.12, while Canadian Natural Resources
(CNQ.TO: Quote) added almost 1 percent at C$74.69.
 "As long as the Fed is keeping interest rates low, it's
making everyone quite comfortable in terms of having cheap
money out there," said Youssef Zohny, associate portfolio
manager at Van Arbor Asset Management in Vancouver.
 Offsetting gains in the energy sector, materials were down
0.28 percent on softer gold prices.
 Financials also retreated on uncertainty over proposed,
stricter banking regulation in the United States.
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) fell 0.6 percent to C$74.54,
while Royal Bank of Canada <RY.TO, the country's biggest bank,
was unchanged at C$59.46. Both banks have large U.S.
operations.
 "I think what you're seeing is not only potentially the
Volcker rule coming in but potentially tempering a bit of
risk-taking for a lot of banks and I think that's probably
being taken as negative," added Zohny.
 The proposed "Volcker rule", first introduced by U.S.
President Barack Obama early this year as a way to rein in
overly speculative investments, would curb proprietary trading
at U.S. banks and force them out of the hedge fund business.
 The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
.GSPTSE closed up 11.26 points, or 0.09 percent, at
12,100.66. Earlier, it touched 12,122.47, its highest level in
17 weeks.
 In a Reuters poll published on Wednesday, respondents said
the TSX will likely remain flat into the middle of the year
then push higher toward the end of 2010, supported by its heavy
weighting in resource issues as the economy slowly heals.
[EPOLL/CA]
 ($1=$1.01 Canadian)
 (Reporting by Claire Sibonney;editing by Rob Wilson)