March 29, 2010 / 9:12 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Commodity rally lifts TSX back above 12,000

* TSX rises 72.35 points to 12,029.72

* Energy, materials sectors lead index higher (Adds details, quotes)

By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO, March 29 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index closed higher on Monday for the first time in four sessions, jumping back above the 12,000 mark as commodity prices rallied on U.S. dollar weakness, propping up the market’s heavyweight resource shares.

U.S. crude futures rose almost 3 percent as the greenback retreated, fueling demand for commodities, which are mostly priced in U.S. dollars.

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), Canada’s largest oil company, gained 3.6 percent to C$31.95, while natural gas major EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) added 2.1 percent to C$30.99. The index’s powerhouse energy sector rose almost 2 percent. [O/R]

The greenback lost some safe-haven luster as investor confidence grew over last week’s euro zone agreement on emergency financial aid for Greece. [ID:nLDE62S0TU]

“It’s a winning day,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod. “The weak U.S. dollar is helping us, the commodities sector is strong.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 72.35 points, or 0.61 percent, at 12,029.72. Nine of the 10 main sectors were higher.

Materials issues were up 0.9 percent as gold and base metal prices firmed. Gold hit its highest level in more than a week and copper reached its highest in almost three months. [GOL/][MET/L]

Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), the world’s biggest gold producer, rose 0.5 percent to C$38.60, while base metals miner Teck Resources gained 4.2 percent to C$43.19.

Also boosting risk appetite, data released on Monday showed U.S. consumers tapped their savings in February to keep spending on an upward path for a fifth straight month, implying that consumption may be strong enough in coming months to keep a recovery going. [ID:nN29246203]

“That’s definitely positive. If you’re coming out of a recession you certainly want to see an improvement in consumer spending,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.

“It’s a month-end, quarter-end; it’s certainly a lot different than it was 12 months ago, so people are optimistic that the worst is behind us,” Latimer added.

Industrials climbed 0.7 percent as Finning International (FTT.TO), the world’s largest Caterpillar (CAT.N) equipment dealer, rose 2.4 percent to C$18.29. Caterpillar was one of the Dow’s top gainers on Monday.

“(Industrials) have been a little bit under selling pressure over the last little while but I think as you have a continually improving economy, you’re going to see the industrial sector supposedly doing a little bit better,” said Ketchen.

Air Canada ACa.TO climbed 4.8 percent to C$2.17 after Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu said on Friday he is beginning to see signs of a recovery for the North American airline industry as cargo volumes rise. [ID:nN26216475]

Financials were down 0.2 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) slipping 0.6 percent to C$59.45, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) also off 0.6 percent at C$75.57.

$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Claire Sibonney; editing by Rob Wilson

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