Bay Street stocks surged again on Wednesday and Toronto's main index finished above 10,000 for the first time since October. Resource stocks, as well as strength in the financial sector, led the way.
The S&P/Composite Index rallied 262.71 points or 2.65% to 10,143.43. The index had last closed above 10,000 on October 20.
Energy stocks rallied 4.8% as crude oil jumped to a multi-month high above $56. Canadian Oil Sands (COS.UN.TO) surged 8.15%, Suncor (SU.TO) gained 7.2% and Encana (ECA.TO) rose 3.7%.
The Energy Information Administration reported crude oil inventories increased by 600,000 barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a build of about 2.2 million barrels. At 375.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at their highest level in nearly two decades.
Penn West Energy Trust (PWT_U.TO) gained 4.6% after the company announced that its first quarter net loss was C$98 million or C$0.25 per unit-basic, compared to net income of C$78 million or C$0.22 per unit-basic in the first quarter of 2008.
Gold stocks have climbed 4.5% while materials stocks added 2.9%. The precious metal climbed $6.70 to close at $911.00 per ounce. Goldcorp (G.TO) rose 4.8%, Iamgold (IMG.TO) rallied 4.8% and Eldorado (ELD.TO) gained 4.1%.
Also among materials stocks, Agrium (AGU.TO) slipped 1.25% after the company reported a first-quarter net loss of US$60 million or US$0.38 per share, compared to net earnings of US$195 million or US$1.23 per share in the same quarter last year. Rival Potash (POT.TO) added 0.3%.
Mining stocks rallied 3.6% as copper rose 10 cents to $2.187 per pound. First Quantum (FM.TO) added 9.8%, Inmet (IMN.TO) rose 4.3% and Teck Cominco (TCK.B.TO) advanced 3.5%.
Financials gained 3.1% amid reports suggesting that several of the financial companies examined by the government don't need additional capital. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) added 3.5%, Royal Bank (RY.TO) climbed 3.1% and CIBC (CM.TO) and Scotiabank (BNS.TO) each rose 3.1%.
On the downside, the Healthcare Index fell 2.3% drop as Biovail (BVF.TO) plunged 13.1%. Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said it was selling its U.S. marketing rights for Wellbutrin to Biovail International Laboratories for $510 million or about GBP 340 million.
In other economic news, CGI Group Inc. (GIB.A.TO) fell 4.9%. The company reported second-quarter net income of C$77.5 million or C$0.25 per share, compared to C$68.8 million or C$0.21 per share in the same quarter last year.
Stella-Jones (SJ.TO) rallied 14.9% after the company reported a first quarter net earnings of C$7.7 million or C$0.61 per share, compared to C$5.3 million or C$0.42 per share in the year-ago quarter.
Magna International (MG-A.TO) closed up 0.7%. The company reported a first quarter loss of $200 million or $1.79 per share, compared to net income of $207 million or $1.78 per share in the same quarter of last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report a loss of $1.59 per share for the quarter.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported the Industrial Product Price Index rose 0.3% in March following a 0.5% increase in February.
Canadian contractors took out $4.5 billion in building permits in March, up 23.5% from February, halting five consecutive monthly declines, according to Statistics Canada. March's increase came mainly from the non-residential sector in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.
Across the border, an Automatic Data Processing report showed that non-farm private employment fell by 491,000 jobs in April following a revised decrease of 708,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected a decrease of 645,000 jobs compared to the loss of 742,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
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