TSX ends week with 8th straight rising day

Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:34pm EST
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock market index edged higher on Friday, marking its eighth straight rising session, as gains in energy and financial issues outweighed a slide among gold miners.

Oil sands-focused company Cenovus Energy Inc was the top heavyweight gainer of the day, up 3.3 percent at C$27.48, with Suncor Energy the No. 3 gainer, up 0.8 percent at C$31.93.

Concerns that a strike in French refineries along with geopolitical tensions over Iran's nuclear situation led to supply worries, which pushed the price of U.S. crude oil futures higher for the fourth day in a row.

Financial shares were mainly higher on the notion that they will continue to benefit from the stronger Canadian economy, said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

Royal Bank of Canada pushed up 0.6 percent to C$57.09 and Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.4 percent to C$66.38. Manulife Financial gained 0.9 percent to C$19.65.

Trade was somewhat cautious as the market digested an unexpected hike in the U.S. Federal Reserve's discount rate, which is the rate at which the U.S. central bank lends to banks.

The move suggested to some that the Fed was close to raising its fed funds rate, its main policy tool, despite assurances from Fed policymakers to the contrary.

"The good news is that the markets have totally taken it in stride and I guess the thinking is that it is part of the normalization process and not a precursor to aggressive tightening down the road," Picardo said.   Continued...

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