Canadian markets post 20 percent gains after record low

March 27th, 2009 - 10:31 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 27 (IANS) Financial and energy shares propelled Canadian markets to cross the important 9,000-mark for the first time in two months.
After sinking to the lowest level since 2004 early this month, Canadian markets have now posted gains of almost 20 percent.

During the trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the composite index crossed the important mark - seen only once this year - to close at 8,995.50 points.

After massive sell-offs of January and February, the world’s seventh largest exchange has made big gains during the past two weeks on rising oil prices and financial shares.

With oil prices crossing $54 Thursday for the first time this year, energy shares rose three percent on the world’s biggest energy market. Suncor Energy Inc., which has announced a merger with Petro-Canada this week to form the fifth largest oil company in North America, gained $1.48 to close at $29.90.

EnCana Corp. was also up $1.56 to $54.68.

Financial shares were also up 1.75 percent, with the top Royal Bank of Canada gaining 66 cents to close at $37.48 and insurance leader Manulife Financial 52 cents to $15.40.

The troubled telecom equipment giant Nortel Networks Corp. was also up 13.5 cents or almost 82 percent to close at 30 cents. Well-known Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons also gained $1.38 to close at $33.20.

However, the Canadian dollar was down 0.03 cent, closing at 81.37 cents. In a related development, insurance leader Manulife Financial announced Thursday that it will pay its outgoing CEO $12.5 million in bonus for his “extraordinary performance”.

Dominic D’Alessandro, who will retire in May, will get $2.5 million in cash and $10 million in restricted shares, the insurance giant said.

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