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: Quote), the biggest contributor to the index's rise, were up 6.7 percent at C$33.29, while Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote) 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...