CANADA STOCKS-TSX pushes higher on strong commodity issues

Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:00pm EST
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* TSX up 0.26 percent at 11,658.70

* Weak U.S. dollar boosts commodity prices (Adds official close, comments)

By Cameron French

TORONTO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index gained for the third-straight session on Wednesday, as a falling U.S. dollar boosted commodity prices and sent shares of mining and energy companies higher.

Strong gold stocks led the TSX materials subgroup up 1.86 percent, while the more heavily weighted energy sector rallied 0.96 percent, as weak U.S. housing data pressured the U.S. greenback.

Four of the 10 main TSX groups ended the session higher.

"With the U.S. dollar weakness, the Canadian dollar's strong, crude oil prices are up, natural gas prices are up. Pretty much across the board commodities are up," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.

Oil prices were also lifted by data showing U.S. oil inventories fell more than expected last week.

Helping lift the energy sector were top players Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote), which rose 1.7 percent to C$37.13, and EnCana (ECA.TO: Quote), which gained 1.7 percent to C$33.85.   Continued...