(Corrects headline to “3-week high” from “6-week high”)
* TSX rallies to highest level since Jan. 16
* Stock gains fueled by hopes for U.S. stimulus plan
* Canadian and U.S. economies bleed jobs in January (Adds details and comments)
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Toronto’s key stock index shot to its highest level in three weeks on Friday as dismal U.S. jobs data fueled hopes for passage of a U.S. stimulus package and helped offset the drag lower oil prices had on energy shares.
The Democratic-led U.S. Senate will aim again on Friday to pass a $937 billion stimulus package aimed at boosting the battered economy. [ID:nN05403943]
“And you’ve got some people kicking some tires on some of these stocks out here that are starting to look like they are bottoming,” said Bruce Latimer, trader at Dundee Securities.
Key stocks fueling the gain in Toronto included fertilizer company Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, which rallied 7.3 percent to C$113.88, and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which rose 5.2 percent to C$73.64.
The rally also followed Canadian data that showed the economy suffered its worst job losses in more than three decades in January. The U.S. economy lost the most jobs in 34 years last month.
At 10:10 a.m. (1510 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 134.21 points, or 1.51 percent, at 8,995.19 after falling as much as 36 points at the open.
Earlier, the TSX rose 1.6 percent to 9,005.88, its highest level since Jan. 16.
$1=$1.24 Canadian Editing by Peter Galloway