By John Tilak
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index recorded its biggest one-day percentage jump in more than four months on Tuesday as positive economic data from China fueled hopes for a global economic recovery and drove gains in the material and energy sectors.
The sharpest reaction came from gold producers, which were buoyed by a rise in the price of bullion and jumped 3.4 percent.
China's annual consumer inflation cooled in March as food prices eased from nine-month highs and producer price deflation deepened.
The data further lifted other commodity prices such as oil and put the resource-heavy Toronto market, which is sensitive to developments in China, in positive territory for the second straight day after a five-day losing streak in which it lost 3.3 percent.
The benchmark Canadian index also turned positive on the year after slipping into negative territory last week.
"The news about China's inflation being subdued means the monetary policy out there will continue to be easy and the Chinese economy continues to do well," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
"Anything that gives us some indication that the Chinese economy is on solid footing should be positive for the TSX," he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index (.GSPTSE) closed up 139.49 points, or 1.13 percent, at 12,484.05. That was the index's biggest one-day jump since November 19, 2012.
"This is a very welcome bounce in the TSX, but I'm not sure how long it will last," Picardo said.
He said seasonal volatility and profit-taking in May were likely to weigh on the market.
The benchmark Canadian index has badly lagged the rallies of its U.S. peers. Its 0.4 percent rise this year pales in comparison with an almost 10 percent jump in the S&P 500.
Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Tuesday.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, advanced 2.4 percent.
Gold stocks, down 20 percent since the start of the year, provided support. Goldcorp Inc (Toronto:G.TO - News) added 3.3 percent to C$32.97 and Barrick Gold Corp (Toronto:ABX.TO - News) rose 1.5 percent to C$27.16.
Agrium Inc shares (Toronto:AGU.TO - News) fell about 3 percent after the fertilizer maker said its entire slate of directors had been elected to its board, defeating a rival slate nominated by dissident U.S. shareholder Jana Partners.
Energy shares were up 2.4 percent as the price of oil made its biggest gain since late December. Suncor Energy Inc (Toronto:SU.TO - News) rose 3.1 percent to C$29.84 and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market higher.
Financials, the index's weightiest sector, gained 0.7 percent.