Toronto stocks followed foreign market higher on Tuesday and the main index posted its first positive close in three sessions. Mining and financial stocks led the way, recovering some of yesterday's losses.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index rallied 124.17 or 1.44% to end at 8,720.39. The rally took the index away from the 10-day closing low from the day before.
Mining stocks rose 3.7% to lead the gainers. FNX Mining (FNX.TO) surged 8.2% and Teck Cominco (TCK.B.TO) rose 2.6%.
Financials rallied 3% with the big six banks seeing strong sessions. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) surged 4.5%, Toronto-Dominion (TD.TO) rallied 3.5%, Royal Bank (RY.TO) gained 2.7%, CIBC (CM.TO) rallied 2.3%, Scotiabank (BNS.TO) added 1.6% and National Bank (NA.TO) gained 1.2%.
Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) soared 7.8% amid a report in the Globe and Mail the insurer has halted bids to acquire parts of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.
The Energy Index edged up 1.3%. Canadian Oil Sands (COS.UN.TO) jumped 4.8%, Baytex (BTE.UN.TO) gained 2.1% and Encana (ECA.TO) rose 1.2%.
Light sweet crude for May delivery ended at $49.66, up $1.05 for the session. After falling as low as $47.77, oil briefly touched $50 in afternoon trading.
Profound Energy (PFX.TO) soared 83% as the company has agreed to be sold to Paramount Energy Trust (PMT_U.TO). For each share of Profound, shareholders will have the option of accepting $1.34 in cash; 0.394 of a PET trust unit; or a combination of cash stock.
In other corporate news, Rogers Communications (RCI.B.TO) fell 1.8%. The company said that it has appointed Nadir Mohamed as president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Nadir replaces the company's founder, the late Ted Rogers.
In merger and acquisitions news, Gammon (GAM.TO) said that discussions have terminated regarding the proposed acquisition of Capital Gold Corp. (CGC.TO). On the news, Gammon added 4% while Capital Gold dropped 6.7%.
Atna Resources (ATN.TO) dropped 1.3% after the company posted fourth quarter net income of C$3.5 million or C$0.04 per basic share, compared to a net loss of C$768 thousand or C$0.01 per basic share in the previous year
Air Canada (AC-B.TO) plunged 22.6% amid a management shakeup as the company looks to avoid bankruptcy. The company announced Calin Rovinescu will replace Montie Brewer as President and Chief Executive Officer effective Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Globe and Mail said Duncan Dee will be named chief operating officer.
On the economic front, data showed Canada's real gross domestic product dropped 0.7% in January. A drop of 0.6% was forecast by analysts, compared to the 0.1% drop in December.
In other economic news, Canadian industrial product prices rose 0.4% in February, while raw materials prices rose 1.7%. Average weekly employee earnings rose 1.1% in January.
Across the border, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index edged up to 26.0 in March from a record low reading of 25.3 in February, although economists had been expecting a somewhat more significant increase by the index to a reading of 28.0.
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