World energy leader Toronto market gains on oil prices

December 30th, 2008 - 10:12 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Dec 30 (IANS) As the Israeli strikes on Hamas pushed oil prices slightly higher Monday, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) - which is the world’s largest energy market - gained more than four percent.The TSX, which has the largest number of about 440 oil and gas companies listed on it, jumped 326.74 points to close at 8,637.29 points.

With oil crossing $40 early Monday over worries about the conflict escalating to disrupt supplies from the Middle East, TSX energy shares rose 5.7 per cent.

Among the gainers after a long time were energy major EnCana Corporation which jumped $2.90 to close at $54.40 and Suncor Energy Inc which was up 88 cents to end the day at $22.88.

The financials sector also posted a moderate gain of 2.6 per cent, with Scotiabank up $1.19 to $30.99 and National Bank up $1.66 to $31.74.

Apart from energy and financial sectors, the gold sector too was up 10 per cent, with Goldcorp Inc rising $3.95 to $38.50 and Barrick Gold $4.28 to $45.34.

The Canadian dollar, whose fortunes are deeply linked to global oil prices, was surprisingly down 0.63 cent to close at 82.07 cents US.

The Toronto stock market, which had crossed the historic 15,000-point mark in June this year, has slipped more than 40 percent since then, wiping off investments worth more than $600 billion.

With the healthiest economy among the G7 nations officially in recession, Canada is set to post a deficit budget in more than a decade.

The outlook for 2009 is worrisome as oil prices tumble.

Canada, whose economy banks on oil and commodities resources, auto manufacturing and the lumber sector, has been pummeled by the global meltdown.

The Bank of Canada, the country’s national bank, has cut the overnight lending rate to a historic low of 1.5 percent to ease credit delivery to stimulate the economy. But the banks are reluctant to give loans, forcing the government to issue them a deadline of January.

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