April 9, 2009 / 8:36 PM / 10 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Financials, oils power TSX higher

* TSX up 2.4 percent on day, 1.34 percent on week

* Financials surge 5.7 percent on Wells Fargo news

* Positive sentiment overshadows dismal jobs data

* Oil prices up 5 percent, lift energy stocks (Updates to close)

By Ka Yan Ng

TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed up 2.4 percent on Thursday as financial issues got a lift from upbeat news from the U.S. banking sector, while climbing oil prices boosted energy shares.

U.S. bank Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) said it expected to post record first-quarter profit, which fueled investor hopes that the battered U.S. banking sector may be headed for stability. [ID:nN09260398]

The new buoyed shares of Canada’s biggest banks and insurers, helping the TSX financial sector jump 5.7 percent. Manulife Financial, the main lift on the index, rose 12.23 percent to C$18.50. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) gained 5.1 percent to C$46.75, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) climbed 4.3 percent to C$39.58.

The U.S. banking news was also a welcome distraction from domestic data that showed the Canadian economy posted higher than expected job losses in March.

The unemployment rate jumped to a seven-year high of 8 percent last month and the economy lost 61,300 jobs, resulting in the sharpest five-month employment decline since the 1982 recession, Statistics Canada said. [ID:nN09258996]

“We had some pretty dismal jobs numbers in Canada, but that’s been overshadowed by positive sentiment surrounding the financial sector,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.

“Since the financial sector has been front and center in the midst of this turmoil, any improvement reflects positively on the rest of the economy and the rest of the equity markets.”

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 2.43 percent, or 217.84 points, at 9,187.12. The rally added to the the Toronto Stock Exchange’s 1.6 percent gain on Wednesday, which saw the index close at a session high. The TSX ends the week 1.34 percent higher from the week before.

Eight of the TSX’s 10 sectors were higher.

The hefty energy group advanced 3.3 percent as oil prices climbed above $52 a barrel as higher stock markets revived thoughts of an economic recovery and increased demand for commodities. [ID:nSP226434]

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) jumped 4.9 percent to C$32, while Petro-Canada PCA.TO was up 5.7 percent to C$39.63.

The TSX will be closed on Friday for the Easter holidays.

$1=$1.23 Canadian Additional reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Rob Wilson

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