TSX touches six-week high on energy rally

Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:20pm EDT
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index rose on Thursday to touch its highest level in more than six weeks, as energy issues climbed in tandem with oil prices on optimism that government stimulus measures may be helping to jolt the global economy out of recession.

The broader energy sector rose 3.29 percent as the price of crude settled up nearly 3 percent at $54.34 a barrel, as better than expected U.S. data in recent days helped to lift investor sentiment about an economic turnaround and stronger demand for commodities.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) was up 5.2 percent at C$29.90, while EnCana (ECA.TO: Quote) finished ahead 2.94 percent at C$54.68.

Quarterly results from electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY.N: Quote) beat forecasts, helping to boost optimism that consumer spending may be faring better than expected.

Consumer discretionary issues rose 2.36 percent, while consumer staples rose 0.73 percent.

"Everybody is getting a little bit of faith in the economy," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd.

He added various economic indicators are making investors hopeful that a trend change could be on the horizon, while massive stimulus measures may be working to thaw the global credit freeze.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 198.06 points, or 2.25 percent, at 8,995.50, with eight of its 10 main groups higher.   Continued...

<p>A sign displays TSX information in Toronto March 23, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>