Higher oil prices send North American stocks soaring for 3rd day

North American stock markets have posted three straight days of gains this week for the first time in 2016. Credit/GETTY IMAGES

TORONTO – North American stock markets advanced strongly for a third consecutive session Wednesday amid a sharp rebound in oil prices and encouraging data from U.S. factories.

At the closing bell, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 312.2 points or 2.5 per cent at 12,867.16, more than making up ground lost in a five-day string of losses last week.

The Canadian dollar was also soaring, finishing the day more than three quarters of a penny higher at 72.95 cents US. The last time the loonie closed above 73 cents US was on Dec. 10, when it finished at 73.36 cents.

In New York, major indexes were also up strongly for a third consecutive day, with the Dow Jones soaring 257.4 or 1.6 per cent to 16,453.83. The broader S&P 500 added 31.24 points or 1.65 per cent to 1,926.82.

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On commodity markets, the March crude contract for benchmark U.S. oil closed above the US$30-a-barrel mark for the first time in more than a week. It ended the Wednesday session $1.47 higher at US$30.51.

Besides resurgent oil, traders also took heart from the latest report from the Federal Reserve which said U.S. factory output rose 0.5 per cent in January, the biggest increase since July, after contracting for four consecutive months.

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