TSX ends higher on oil boost, U.S. recovery hope

Mon Apr 5, 2010 5:14pm EDT
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By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO (Reuters) - The TSX rose to an 18-month high on Monday before paring gains, as rising oil prices and firm U.S. economic data bolstered hopes for a sustained recovery.

Investors welcomed fresh reports that showed the U.S. services sector grew above expectations in March and pending homes sales accelerated more than anticipated in February.

The reports reinforced optimism stirred by Friday's news that U.S. nonfarm payrolls had risen at the fastest pace in three years, the strongest signal yet that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining a solid footing.

The brightening economic outlook helped push oil to an 18-month high on Monday, rising above $86 a barrel and sent the TSX's heavily weighted energy sector up 1.85 percent. Suncor Energy Inc and Canadian Natural Resources each gained more than 2 percent.

The positive sentiment and higher oil price helped lift the Canadian dollar to a 20-month high against the greenback and its highest point since it was at parity in July 2008.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index finished up 35.29 points, or 0.29 percent, at 12,186.35. Earlier, it hit 12,203.39, its highest since September 2008.

Suncor Energy shot up 2.62 percent to C$35.22, and Canadian Natural Resources jumped 2.12 percent to C$79.89.

The day started strongly with all sectors advancing. Eight of 10 main groups ended higher.   Continued...

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