Canadian stocks have soared in early trading on Monday and extended its highest level in more than a month. Stocks were boosted as investors mulled details of a new U.S. government plan to subsidize private investors' purchase as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets on the books of troubled banks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index has rallied 361.52 points or 4.25% to move at 8,867.87. The index finished lower Friday for the first time in nine sessions.

Energy stocks have rallied 7%. Light sweet crude is up 59 cents at $52.66 per barrel as May takes over as the front-month contract.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) and Petro-Canada (PCA.TO) are both higher after the companies announced they will merge in an all-stock deal. Suncor has added 3.5% while Petro-Canada has soared 23.1%. Both companies expect the proposed merger to be completed in the third quarter of 2009. The combined entity will operate corporately and trade under the Suncor name.

Baytex Energy Trust (BTE_U.TO) has dropped 3.5% after the company announced will sell 6.90 million trust units to underwriters at C$14.50 per unit for total gross proceeds of C$100.05 million.

NAL Oil & Gas Trust (NAE_U.TO) is up 2.2% after the company announced it has agreed to acquire Alberta Clipper Energy (ACN.TO) in a deal worth $115 million. Alberta Clipper has dropped 10.2% following the news.

Angle Energy (NGL.TO) has added 3.3% after the company announced funds from operations for the fourth quarter rose to C$15.69 million or C$0.40 per share from C$7.67 million or C$0.23 per share in the year-ago quarter.

Mining stocks have surged 7.4% to lead the way. Among the big names, First Quantum (FM.TO) has surged 9.6%, Teck Cominco (TCK.B.TO) has rallied 9%, Inmet (IMN,TO) has jumped 5.3% and Thompson Creek (TCM.TO) is up 2%.

Denison Mines Corp. (DML.TO) has lost 8.8% after the company announced that Peter Farmer will step down as chief executive officer and director on April 30.

Financials are up 5% with all of the big six banks showing significant gains. Toronto-Dominion (TD.TO) is up 6.5%, CIBC (CM.TO) has added 5.5%, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) has gained 5.2%, National Bank (NA.TO) is up 4.9%, Royal Bank (RY.TO) has gained 4.7% and Scotiabank (BNS.TO) is up 4.5%.

In other corporate news, Pet Valu (PVC.TO) is up 1% after the company reported net income for the fourth-quarter of US$4.3 million or US$0.42 per share, compared to US$4.7 million or US$0.46 per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

West Fraser (WFT.TO) has lost 0.9% after the company said it will temporarily curtail plywood production in response to continuing weak demand, which will affect about 600 full and part-time employees.

Agrium (AGU.TO) has gained 4% after CF Industries Holdings (CF) announced that its board has recommended it reject Agrium's offer to acquire all outstanding shares of CF Industries.

In economic news, Canada's composite leading index for February fell 1.1% after a 0.9% decrease in January, with 9 of the 10 components declining, according to data released Monday by Statistics Canada.

The Obama administration released details Monday of its latest plan to solve the massive, debilitating banking crisis which continues to hold the financial system in its crushing grip.

The Treasury's response involves using up to $100 billion in funds from the $700 billion financial rescue plan passed in 2008 in addition to capital from private investors to generate an estimated $500 billion to purchase the toxic assets.

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