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The close: Commodities to the rescue Add to ...

Canada's benchmark index made it three in a row on Thursday - as in, the index has moved higher for three consecutive days, rising largely as investors embrace cast-off commodity producers.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 9856.21, up 354.65 points for the day, or 3.7 per cent. Then, as earlier in the week, energy and materials stocks led the way: EnCana Corp. rose 5.9 per cent, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. rose 7 per cent and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose 6.8 per cent.

The day's action is typical of the impressive rebound that began on Tuesday with a 614-point rally. Over the past three days, the index has risen close to 1300 points in total, or about 15 per cent. During this run, commodity producers were among the big drivers of the rebound.

Six of the top 10 movers were commodity producers: EnCana rose about 21 per cent, adding 77 points to the index; Canadian Natural Resources rose 31 per cent, adding 74 points; Potash Corp. rose 26 per cent, adding 61 points; and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 28 per cent, adding 53 points.

Where did commodity prices move over these three days? Crude oil rose 4.3 per cent, to $65.94 (U.S.) a barrel. Gold rose 1.2 per cent, to $739.57 an ounce.

The other big movers over these three days were financial stocks, including Royal Bank of Canada, Manulife Financial Corp., Bank of Nova Scotia and Toronto-Dominion Bank.

In the United States, the action has been more choppy, but at least the major indexes held on to gains on Thursday, following a nerve-racking selloff on Wednesday during the final 10 minutes of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 9180.69, up 189.73 points, or 2.1 per cent. The S&P 500 closed at 954.09, up 24 points, or 2.6 per cent.


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