TSX, loonie continue gains as oil prices rise

TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market advanced for a third consecutive session Thursday as Canada's main index continued to ride a wave of rising oil prices.

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At mid-afternoon, the S&P/TSX index was up 171.35 points at 12,549.12 for a cumulative gain over the last three days of almost 406 points or 3.3 per cent.

The oil-sensitive Canadian dollar was also trading higher, up 0.19 of a U.S. cent at 71.1 cents US.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 101.11 points at 16,045.57, while the S&P 500 advanced 11.72 points to 1,894.67 and the Nasdaq added 38.74 points to 4,506.91.

In commodities, the main focus was on oil, where the March contract for benchmark North American crude was up 75 cents or 2.7 per cent at US$33.05 after having been as high as US$34.82 a barrel earlier in the session.

Thursday's increase was on top of a 6.5 per cent climb over the previous two days amid ongoing talks between Russia and Saudi Arabia about possible production cuts.

The March natural gas contract was up two cents at US$2.18 per mmBtu, while April gold was off 90 cents at US$1,115.40 an ounce and March copper lost a penny to US$2.05 a pound.

The gain on North American indexes followed what was a down day elsewhere around the globe.

In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 2.4 per cent, while France's CAC-40 closed down 1.3 per cent and Britain's FTSE 100 shed one per cent.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index gave was down 0.7 per cent, while China's main Shanghai composite index in mainland China finished 2.9 per cent lower.


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