TSX lifted by rally in energy shares

Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:13pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index shot to its highest close in more than three weeks on Monday as a rally in oil prices helped power Suncor Energy and other oil and gas shares to comfortable gains.

Shares of Suncor, the biggest contributor to the index's gain, rose 3 percent to C$38.04, followed by oil company Canadian Natural Resources, which closed up 3.3 percent at C$72.49.

The rise in energy stocks came as the price of oil rose more than 3 percent on stronger-than-expected U.S. consumer spending data and a weaker greenback.

Gold-mining shares were also instrumental in the TSX's second straight higher close as gold prices touched a record high near $1,135 an ounce.

That helped lift Barrick Gold Corp shares 2.3 percent to C$46.15, while Goldcorp followed with a gain of 1 percent to C$46.75.

"It looks like we followed U.S. markets higher today, but in Canada we are also being helped by the fact that the U.S. dollar continues to slide and that has pushed commodity prices higher," said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "So the upside is being led by the materials and energy issues."

The greenback was dragged down by rosier-than-expected U.S. retail sales data for October, which boosted economic optimism and eroded the U.S. dollar's safe-haven appeal.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed 104.58 points, or 0.92 percent, higher at 11,512.26. That marked its highest close since October 22.   Continued...