Rate cut, golds boost Toronto stocks

Wed Oct 8, 2008 5:24pm EDT
 
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index ended more than 200 points higher on Wednesday after a volatile session, as a surprise, co-ordinated interest rate cut by several central banks restored some confidence to investors and lit a fire under mining stocks.

After five straight days of steep losses and an initial drop at the open on Wednesday, buyers swept in to pick up bargains after the Bank of Canada cut its key interest rate by a half percentage point to 2.5 percent, part of a concerted effort by central banks.

However, the market swung wildly all day, spending much of the session in the red, as weaker oil prices and continued worries about the possibility of a global recession kept investors on a hair trigger.

"Overall, we're just seeing an overreactive market to every small movement, whether it be interest rates or commodity prices or whatever," said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung & Co. Investment Counsel.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended the session up 226.76 points, or 2.31 percent, at 10,056.31.

Seven of its 10 subgroups rose, led by a massive 12.27 percent gain for the mining-heavy materials sector.

Gold producers such as Barrick Gold and Kinross Gold led the way, rising 19 percent and 23 percent respectively as gold prices pushed above $900 an ounce for the first time in more than a week.

Barrick ended at $40.05, while Kinross closed at C$18.75.   Continued...

 
<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>