Market gets lift from rising oil

Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:45pm EDT
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed nearly 100 points higher in a volatile session on Thursday as energy issues got a boost from a higher crude price and strong earnings from major companies in the oil and gas sector.

The heavily weighted energy group led the benchmark index higher, rising 3.5 percent as oil rose on expectations of an OPEC supply cut [ID:nSYD377354].

Strong earnings from Petro-Canada PCA.TO and EnCana (ECA.TO: Quote) also helped boost the sector.

Investors are eagerly awaiting any announcement by OPEC on production cuts, aimed at firming crude prices, given the rapid slide in oil prices from record levels above $147 a barrel on fears of a global recession and plunging demand.

"The main reason is the OPEC meeting tomorrow and there are rumors floating around on what the size of the cutback will be by OPEC," said Sal Masionis, a stockbroker at Brant Securities.

"The more they cut the higher the oil prices will go."

The big financial services group finished the day up 1.9 percent after falling earlier in the session alongside its global peers on concerns about loan losses, tight credit and deteriorating economies.

After a seesaw session that saw the TSX swing nearly 580 points from trough to peak, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 94.47 points, or 1.02 percent, at 9,331.35, with seven of its main sectors higher.   Continued...

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