4 Min Read
* TSX up 2.12 percent at 10,676.72
* Higher commodity prices drive gains from opening bell
* All 10 main sectors in higher territory (Adds details, comments)
By Ka Yan Ng
TORONTO, July 30 (Reuters) - A swift return to hopes of economic recovery and a surge in prices for key Canadian commodities helped push Toronto's main stock index higher by more than 2 percent on Thursday.
The TSX shot upwards from the get-go and hardly looked back as all 10 sectors advanced strongly, allowing the overall market to make up nearly all of the last two days' declines.
Extra credit for the rally went to the energy and materials sectors, up 2.44 percent and 3.29 percent respectively, as the price of oil and gold rebounded from recent pressure.
Oil jumped more than 5 percent towards $67 a barrel, while gold tracked oil's rise, as U.S. economic data sparked fresh optimism that the recession may be bottoming out. [ID:nSP411146]
"Obviously, commodities are leading the way. They got smashed in recent trading days so now they are having a bit of a rebound," said Sal Masionis, stockbroker at Brant Securities.
Petro-Canada PCA.TO also followed the general upward trend, gaining 4.43 percent to C$44.60 as it closed the curtain on more than three decades as a flagship oil company with a drop in profit. Petro-Can will disappear and Suncor will become Canada's biggest oil company after it completes its C$22.5 billion takeover on Saturday. [ID:nN29275329]
Driving the TSX's mining-heavy materials sector were shares of Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), up 2.99 percent at C$36.82, while gold miner Agnico-Eagle (AEM.TO) rallied 7.44 percent to C$61.08. Both companies reported quarterly results that topped estimates, while Agnico also said it plans to raise its dividend next year and is on the lookout for early-stage development assets. [ID:nN30335550] [ID:nN30361679]
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 221.39 points, or 2.12 percent, at 10,676.72.
"As long as economic indicators point upward and earnings are doing better than estimates, in general I think the market's got a lot of fire under it," said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
Data showed euro zone economic sentiment improved in July, the fourth improvement from a trough in March, which helped signal that the economy there is bottoming out. [ID:nLT1519]
Adding to the optimism was a U.S. report that showed jobless claims rose in the latest week, but the trend was seen to be slowing, while solid U.S. corporate profits also spurred Wall Street. [ID:nN30354300] [ID:nN30377840]
The industrials group was also a major gainer, rising 4.1 percent. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO) was up 12.24 percent at C$48.61, after it reported quarterly results that beat expectations. [ID:nN30353163]
Air Canada ACa.TO ACb.TO shares soared after the cash-strapped airline announced a C$1.02 billion financing plan that gives the country's biggest carrier some much-needed breathing room. [ID:nN30339287] Its class A shares climbed 24 percent to C$2. Meanwhile, regional affiliate Jazz Air JAZ_u.TO gained 10.14 percent to C$3.80.
$1=$1.08 Canadian Editing by Rob Wilson