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

Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:24pm 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.

The price of oil, a key Canadian export, rose above $51 a barrel on optimism that the U.S. recession is easing, allowing the TSX index's oil and gas group to reclaim some of the ground it lost over the past two sessions.

Talisman Energy Inc TLM.TO led overall gainers, rising 6.97 percent to C$15.35 as its first-quarter profit beat expectations due to a hefty jump in production and lower operating costs. It also raised its twice-yearly dividend. [ID:nBNG470353]

EnCana ECA.TO was also a key gainer, rising 1.89 percent to C$55.49.

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. It said, however, it would continue to keep interest rates exceptionally low for an extended period. [ID:nN29410693]   Continued...