Toronto stocks log biggest weekly gain in 6 years

Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:35pm EDT
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed sharply higher on Friday as energy stocks rose on a rebound in crude and investors shopped for bargains.

In yet another volatile day with a trading range of nearly 800 points from trough to peak, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 292.52 points, or 3.16 percent, at 9,562.49, with all of its 10 main groups higher.

The benchmark index rose 5.5 percent for the week, snapping a three-week losing streak. It was the index's biggest weekly gain since October 2002. Last week it fell 16 percent.

"We're starting to see signs of some resumption of confidence," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd, in Calgary, Alberta.

The market sank at the open but climbed steadily as its focus shifted to rising oil prices and bargain-hunting. Some investors were also encouraged by billionaire investor Warren Buffett's remarks that he is buying U.S. stocks.

But Kerkovius said there will be no sharp recovery.

"It's not going to go straight down and straight up," he said. "The market is probably going to have to go back and retest those levels we saw."

The energy group, which had been under pressure for most of the week, gained 6.9 percent as oil rebounded $2 to $71.85 a barrel, helped by expectations that OPEC would cut output at an emergency meeting next week.   Continued...

<p>A Bay Street sign is seen at the financial district in Toronto, October 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>