CANADA STOCKS-TSX closes higher as energy, gold shares rise

Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:25pm EDT
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* TSX rises 61.39 points to 8,690.49

* Energy and gold-mining stocks surge

* Eighth straight higher close for index (Adds details, comments and official numbers)

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO, March 19 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index closed higher for an eighth straight session on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to fight the recession boosted commodity prices and buoyed the resource-heavy index.

Energy and gold-mining companies headlined the rally, which was largely a continuation from Wednesday's surge after the Fed unexpectedly said it would buy long-term Treasury bonds in a bid to revive the recession-hit economy.

Shares of Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), the key driver behind the rally, rose 7 percent to close at C$33.40, while EnCana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) closed up 4.8 percent at C$53.02.

The key Toronto index is now up 16 percent from the five-year low hit two weeks ago and finished the session at its highest closing level since Feb. 11. It was also the first time since December 2004 that the TSX has risen in eight straight sessions.

"We were so oversold that any rebound would expect to be a pretty strong one," said Gavin Graham, director of Investments at BMO Asset Management.   Continued...