March 26, 2009 / 8:54 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-TSX extends gains, powered by energy group

* TSX up 2.25 percent at 8,995.50

* Energy sector up 3.29 percent as oil climbs

* Gains lift TSX to 0.09 percent rise year-to-date (Add official closing numbers, details, quotes)

By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO, March 26 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index rose on Thursday to touch its highest level in more than six weeks, as energy issues climbed in tandem with oil prices on optimism that government stimulus measures may be helping to jolt the global economy out of recession.

The broader energy sector rose 3.29 percent as the price of crude CLc1 settled up nearly 3 percent at $54.34 a barrel, as better than expected U.S. data in recent days helped to lift investor sentiment about an economic turnaround and stronger demand for commodities. [ID:nSP460455] [ID:nN26447514]

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) was up 5.2 percent at C$29.90, while EnCana (ECA.TO) finished ahead 2.94 percent at C$54.68.

Quarterly results from electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY.N) beat forecasts, helping to boost optimism that consumer spending may be faring better than expected.

Consumer discretionary issues rose 2.36 percent, while consumer staples rose 0.73 percent.

“Everybody is getting a little bit of faith in the economy,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd.

He added various economic indicators are making investors hopeful that a trend change could be on the horizon, while massive stimulus measures may be working to unthaw the global credit freeze.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished up 198.06 points, or 2.25 percent, at 8,995.50, with eight of its 10 main groups higher.

The rise followed two days of losses and pushed the index to a 0.09 percent gain for the year so far.

$1=$1.23 Canadian Additional reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson

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