TSX posts biggest gain since May as oil rallies

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Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rises to a record high

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index on Friday notched it biggest gain in nearly four months as resource shares led broad-based gains, supported by higher commodity prices, and despite data showing that the Canadian economy shed jobs for a third straight month.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 360.34 points, or 1.9%, at 19,773.34, its biggest advance since May 13 and its highest closing level since Aug. 29.

For the week, the index was up 2.6%, after posting declines in the previous three weeks.

U.S. stocks also rallied as investors shrugged off concerns about tighter monetary policy and signs of an economic slowdown in Europe and China.

The Canadian economy lost 39,700 jobs in August in a sign higher interest rates may be starting to cool the overheated economy, official data showed, though economists said it was unlikely to force a Bank of Canada pause.

On Wednesday, the central bank hiked its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point to a 14-year high of 3.25%.

"In the short term, you may not see another acceleration in rate hikes, but they probably aren't going to slow down or stop either," Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management said.

The energy sector climbed 2.7% as the threat of supply cuts boosted oil prices. U.S. crude oil futures settled 3.9% higher at $86.79 a barrel, while gold and copper prices also climbed.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 2.4%.

Combined, the energy and materials groups account for 29% of the TSX's market capitalization.

Financials, which are also heavily weighted, rose 1.7% and technology ended 3.4% higher.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Aniruddha Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Jonathan Oatis)