CANADA STOCKS-Toronto index gains on oil prices, Fed optimism

Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:29pm EDT
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* TSX rises 0.73 percent to 9,416.31

* Energy group leads climb, Talisman up 7 pct

* Fed says pace of U.S. economic deterioration slowing (Adds details, updates numbers)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, April 29 (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose 0.73 percent on Wednesday as higher oil prices and upbeat corporate earnings sparked renewed interest in equities after two straight declining sessions.

Stocks got an additional lift in the afternoon as the U.S. Federal Reserve said the pace of deterioration in the economy appeared to be slowing, but said it would continue to keep interest rates exceptionally low for an extended period. [ID:nN29410693]

"The comments indicate they do see signs of stabilization in the economy, which has been the dominant theme that has been driving investor trading for the last month or so," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE rose 68.28 points, or 0.73 percent, to 9,416.31. Six of the index's 10 main sectors were higher, led by a 1.77 percent gain by the energy group.

The price of oil, a key Canadian export, rose above $51 a barrel on optimism that the U.S. recession was easing and allowed the oil and gas group to reclaim some of the ground lost over the past two sessions.   Continued...