CANADA STOCKS-TSX perks up as oils, base metals rally

Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:37pm EDT
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* TSX up 11.26 points, or 0.09 percent, at 12,100.66

* Energy leads index higher with oil toward $83

* Poll shows TSX flat at mid-year, rising by year-end (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.

Solid base metal prices boosted the mining sub-sector, with Teck Resources TCKb.TO ahead 1.2 percent at C$41.97 and Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO: Quote) adding almost 2 percent at C$16.68.   Continued...