UPDATE 4-Toronto stocks surge on financial rescue plans

Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:37pm EDT
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* TSX benchmark index surges more than 7 pct higher

* Financials climb on news of U.S. rescue plans

* Energy issues rise as oil rebounds above $100 a barrel (Adds details, background)

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index soared to its biggest percentage gain since 1987 on Friday, as a series of U.S.-led moves to shore up the global financial system sparked a resource-led rally across all sectors.

The second-straight day of strong gains for the index came as global markets rallied on the U.S. plan to take over hundreds of billions of dollars worth of toxic mortgage debt, and slap a temporary ban on short-selling.

The energy and materials sectors led the way with gains of 8.9 percent and 9.6 percent, as oil charged above $100, while extra liquidity in the markets helped mining stocks rebound from their sharp declines of the past week.

"You only get days like this once in a blue moon," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

"It's so sweeping, not just the market action, but the unprecedented number of initiatives with respect to market activity. It's unbelievable."   Continued...