CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 5-week high as oil and gold shares rally

Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:43am EDT
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* TSX up 125.43 points at 8,754.53

* Energy and gold shares lead surge

* Fed initiatives improve sentiment (Adds details)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, March 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's key stock index was higher at midmorning on Thursday as rallying oil prices gave a jolt to energy shares amid hopes that credit easing measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve could boost the global economy.

The price of oil jumped more than 6 percent and gold hit a two-week high, sending the resource-heavy Toronto index to its highest level since Feb. 11, with the bulk of the gains coming from the energy and materials sectors.

Shares of Suncor Energy SU.TO, the biggest contributor to the index's rise, were up 6.7 percent at C$33.29, while Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO was up 2.8 percent at C$41.03.

The higher start for Toronto's key index followed a string of seven straight gaining sessions. It extended a rally triggered on Wednesday by the U.S. Federal Reserve's surprise announcement that it would buy long-term Treasury bonds for the first time in four decades in a bid to revive the recession-hit economy.

"Obviously the No. 1 thing is the big announcement from the U.S.," said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities. "They are opening up all the taps and that has helped the commodities."   Continued...