* TSX up 2.25 percent at 8,995.50
* Energy sector up 3.29 percent as oil climbs
* Gains lift TSX to 0.09 percent rise year-to-date (Adds details)
By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO, March 26 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose on Thursday to touch its highest level in more than six weeks, as energy issues climbed in tandem with oil prices on optimism that government stimulus measures may be helping to jolt the global economy out of recession.
The broader energy sector rose 3.29 percent as the price of crude CLc1 settled up nearly 3 percent at $54.34 a barrel, as better than expected U.S. data in recent days helped to lift investor sentiment about an economic turnaround and stronger demand for commodities. [ID:nSP460455] [ID:nN26447514]
Quarterly results from electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY.N) beat forecasts, helping to boost optimism that consumer spending may be faring better than expected.
Consumer discretionary issues rose 2.36 percent, while consumer staples rose 0.73 percent.
"Everybody is getting a little bit of faith in the economy," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd.
He added various economic indicators are making investors hopeful that a trend change could be on the horizon, while massive stimulus measures may be working to thaw the global credit freeze.
The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 198.06 points, or 2.25 percent, at 8,995.50, with eight of its 10 main groups higher.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index .TSE60 closed 13.12 points higher, or 2.46 percent, at 546.60.
The TSX's rise followed two days of losses and lifted the composite to a 0.09 percent gain for the year so far.
The resource-laden materials sector, home to mining and fertilizer companies, rose 1.7 percent, with Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT.TO) up 7.3 percent at C$109.83.
The hefty financial sector moved 1.8 percent higher after initially seesawing, with Manulife Financial (MFC.TO) rising 3.5 percent to C$15.40.
"I think we were in such a dismal funk for such a while that good news is catching on and people are looking at the glass full rather than half empty," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
Research in Motion RIM.TO climbed 5.9 percent to C$55.47. Goldman Sachs reiterated a "buy" rating on the company as it expects the BlackBerry maker to post fourth-quarter results in line with Wall Street expectations. [ID:nBNG378703]
$1=$1.23 Canadian Reporting by Jennifer Kwan and Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson