TSX, loonie close higher as oil prices climb

TORONTO -- Strengthening oil prices propelled North American markets to a second big rally in as many days, allowing them to post their first weekly gains of the new year.

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The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index soared 353.72 points to 12,389.58, adding to a big 192-point gain on Thursday.

The commodity-sensitive loonie also benefited from the bounce in oil prices, rising 0.64 of a U.S. cent to 70.67 cents US.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 210.83 points at 16,093.51, while the S&P 500 advanced 37.91 points to 1,906.90 and the Nasdaq rose 119.12 points to 4,591.18.

Rising oil prices were a major factor in the rallies on both sides of the border as the March contract for benchmark crude rose $2.66 or nine per cent to US$32.19 a barrel.

Elsewhere in commodities, February natural gas was unchanged at US$2.14 per mmBtu and March copper advanced a penny to US$2.00 a pound, while February gold slumped $1.90 to US$1,096.30 an ounce.



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