TSX rises on Europe relief, ends quarter lower

Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:52pm EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index bounced higher on Wednesday following two days of steep falls as investors scooped up cheaper shares after fears of a funding crisis for European banks eased and U.S. data showed improved business activity.

Among heavyweight gainers, Canadian Natural Resources jumped 0.8 percent to C$35.33, Bank of Montreal added 0.7 percent to C$57.74, and Barrick Gold Corp shot 1.9 percent higher to C$48.32.

"After two horrific down days, you'd expect a bounce," said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.

Market sentiment was boosted partly by news that the European Central Bank said commercial banks don't have to borrow as much as had been expected, easing concerns about how they would repay large emergency loans.

Investors digested a mixed bag of economic data: U.S. Midwest business activity grew more than expected, helping to offset a weak U.S. private sector jobs report, but Canadian GDP figures for April were flat.

Adding to investors' nervousness about the shaky global economic recovery and capping the index's gains, Moody's Investors Service announced it may cut Spain's Aaa debt rating and commodity prices weakened.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 30.59 points, or 0.27 percent, at 11,294.42. On the month, the index was down 3.2 percent, and for the quarter it was down 6.2 percent.

Nine of index's 10 main sectors were higher. Energy shares were down 0.01 percent after a rise in U.S. fuel stocks pressured oil prices.   Continued...

<p>Bay Street signs are seen in the heart of the financial district in Toronto in this August 17, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>