TSX surges on financial rescue plans

Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:40pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index soared to its biggest percentage gain since 1987 on Friday, as a series of U.S.-led moves to shore up the global financial system sparked a resource-led rally across all sectors.

The second-straight day of strong gains for the index came as global markets rallied on the U.S. plan to take over hundreds of billions of dollars worth of toxic mortgage debt, and slap a temporary ban on short-selling.

The energy and materials sectors led the way with gains of 8.9 percent and 9.6 percent, as oil charged above $100, while extra liquidity in the markets helped mining stocks rebound from their sharp declines of the past week.

"You only get days like this once in a blue moon," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

"It's so sweeping, not just the market action, but the unprecedented number of initiatives with respect to market activity. It's unbelievable."

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 848.42 points, or 7.03 percent, to finish at its session-high of 12,912.99, marking its largest one-day percentage gain since the aftermath of the October 1987 stock market crash. It was the market's biggest one-day points gain.

Among energy stocks, Suncor Energy rose 14.3 percent to C$52.00, while Canadian Natural Resources gained 11.9 percent to C$87.31.

Leading the way among mining issues was Lundin Mining, which rose 16.4 percent to C$3.90, and Barrick Gold, which charged ahead 12.3 percent to C$36.50 as gold prices rose above $870 an ounce.   Continued...