December 8, 2008 / 3:27 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX surges on commodities, stimulus hopes

*Resources lead TSX higher; oil rises above $43

*Oilexco soars 22 pct after report says it up for sale (Adds quote, details)

TORONTO, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index rose sharply on Monday morning as oil and metals prices climbed and as optimism rose that global stimulus measures would avert a deeper slide in the economy.

Heavily weighted stocks that propelled the market higher included oil company EnCana Corp (ECA.TO), up 7.4 percent at C$54.61, and miner Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), up 5.8 percent at $33.92.

Toronto stocks followed equities around the world higher with investors focusing on a possible rescue plan for U.S. automakers, a proposed U.S. jobs plan and more government stimulus measures to try to reverse economic malaise. [MKTS/GLOB]

In China and Europe, leaders were set to plot next steps on Monday, while stimulus measures already presented, planned or pending helped push stock markets higher. [ID:nHKG329944]

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama unveiled stimulus plans at the weekend that featured the largest U.S. infrastructure program since the 1950s and the creation of 2.5 million jobs. For links to more stories see [ID:nCRISIS]

“Between those things that’s enough to give cause for investors to step in,” said Peter Chandler, senior vice-president at Canaccord Capital in Waterloo, Ontario.

“There is unprecedented amounts of money on the sidelines and this market is waiting for a reason to get into the market.”

At around 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE was up 346.79 points, or 4.27 percent, at 8,463.82, with all of its 10 main groups higher.

The big energy sector jumped 6.2 percent as oil rose above $43 a barrel as global equity markets soared and on further evidence of supply cuts by top exporter Saudi Arabia. [ID:nT120299]

Canadian oil explorer Oilexco Inc OIL.TO, one of the most heavily traded stocks, soared 22 percent to C$1.77.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the company has been put up for sale. The report said the company had already received interest from BG Group BG.L, Talisman Energy TLM.TO and Petro-Canada PCA.TO, while Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) is also considering a bid. [ID:nL7502369]

Strength in gold and base metals prices propelled the mining-heavy materials sector, which rose 6.6 percent.

Financials were up 3.3 percent with Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) up 4 percent at C$35.00, and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) higher by 4.4 percent at C$38.01. ($1=$1.26 Canadian) (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)

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