TSX Wall Street loonie rally on oil prices encouraging economic signs

TORONTO — A spike in oil prices helped push the Toronto stock market sharply higher, while the loonie got a solid boost from some encouraging economic data from Ottawa.The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 121.75 points to 12,982.10, capping a fourth-straight day of gains.Much of the strength was linked to another rise in oil prices after Russia hinted that a deal to cap oil production could be reached by OPEC countries later this month.Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar have supported the idea of a cap, with the aim of boosting oil prices, but have said it is conditional on other producers participating.Canada’s economy grows more than expected, but that’s still not very muchValeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc downgraded: RBC analysts slash price target on the company by more than $100The April contract for benchmark North American crude added 65 cents to US$34.40 a barrel.Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar gained 0.65 of a U.S. cent to 74.55 cents U.S. Statistics Canada reported that the economy expanded at an annual rate of 0.8 per cent in the final three months of 2015. Economists had expected real GDP would be flat in the fourth quarter.In New York, indexes soared in the wake of a U.S. government report that construction spending reached its highest level in eight years in January, which traders saw as a strong vote in the strength of the economy.The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 348.58 points or nearly three per cent to 16,865.08, the Nasdaq composite index jumped 131.65 points to 4,689.60, while the broader S&P 500 gained 46.12 points to 1,978.35.In other commodities, April natural gas gained three cents to US$1.74 per mmBtu. May copper was also positive, rising a penny to US$2.14 a pound, while April gold gave back $3.60 to US$1,230.80 a troy ounce.

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