Canadian stocks soared on Monday and closed higher for a ninth time in 10 sessions. The market followed the lead of the global markets as traders expressed optimism over the U.S. government's plan to purchase as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets on the books of troubled banks.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 452.16 points or 5.31% to close at 8,958.51. The index posted its best finish since February 9, the last day it last touched above 9,000.
Mining stocks led the rally with a 7% jump. Among the big names, Teck Cominco (TCK.B.TO) jumped 12.9% and First Quantum (FM.TO) surged 9.4%.
Financials soared 6.9% as Manulife (MFC.TO) led the way with a 15.8% gain. Of the big six banks, Toronto-Dominion (TD.TO) rallied 10.3%, National Bank (NA.TO) jumped 10.2% and CIBC (CM.TO) rallied 8.3%.
Energy stocks rallied 7.4%. Light sweet crude for May delivery rallied to $53.80 a barrel, up $1.73 for the session. Prices hit as high as $54.05 earlier in the day, the best level since January.
Petro-Canada (PCA.TO) surged 20.4% on its $15.6 billion merger deal with Suncor (SU.TO). 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. Suncor stock slipped 0.5%.
Baytex Energy Trust (BTE_U.TO) ended basically flat after the company announced it would 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) rose 2.7% after the company announced it has agreed to acquire Alberta Clipper Energy (ACN.TO) in a deal worth $115 million. Alberta Clipper dropped 10.2% following the news.
Angle Energy (NGL.TO) jumped 7.5% 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.
Denison Mines Corp. (DML.TO) plunged 10.7% after the company announced that Peter Farmer would step down as chief executive officer and director on April 30.
In other corporate news, Pet Valu (PVC.TO) gained 4.4% 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.
AbitibiBowater (ABH.TO) lost 10.5% after the company said that its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Bowater Finance II LLC, has extended the expiration date for its private exchange offers, consent solicitation and concurrent private notes offering until March 25 from the originally scheduled date of March 20.
Agrium (AGU.TO) added 5.7% 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.
Additionally, the Obama administration released details of its latest plan to solve the massive, debilitating banking crisis that 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 toxic assets.
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