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TSX posts tenth day of gains, nears three-year high

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People attend a market open ceremony for Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto

People attend a market open ceremony for the Toronto Stock Exchange at the TSX Broadcast Centre in Toronto June 20, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index climbed to its highest in nearly three years on Tuesday as global equity markets cheered stimulative policy measures taken by the Bank of Japan, while a jump in oil prices lifted shares of energy producers.

With sentiment for equities rebounding and an appetite for natural resource stocks staging a recovery, the Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark index closed higher for a 10th straight session.

The Japanese central bank kept an easy monetary policy in place and extended special loan programs to support economic growth.

Further support for the index came from a 5.1 percent jump in shares of smartphone maker BlackBerry (Toronto:BB.TO - News) after investor Daniel Loeb's Third Point hedge fund disclosed it had bought 10 million shares in the company.

Offsetting some of the positive sentiment was data showing a slowdown in New York manufacturing in February after it hit a 20-month high in January.

Recent gains in shares of gold producers have driven much of benchmark Canadian index's rise this year. The S&P/TSX composite index is up about 3.4 percent so far in 2014, compared with a decline in the S&P 500 (.SPX).

"The TSX is definitely back in favor. It's been a steady grind upwards and it's indicative of changing sentiment for the Canadian equity space," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"This rally has been earnings driven. It is fundamentally sound," he added. "With the index having surpassed 14,000, it does give us more confidence in the outlook for the rest of year."

The S&P/TSX composite (.GSPTSE) closed up 22.71 points, or 0.16 percent, at 14,077.47 on Tuesday. Six of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

Shares of energy producers were up 0.5 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (Toronto:CNQ.TO - News) advancing 1.8 percent to C$39.18, and Encana Corp (Toronto:ECA.TO - News) rising 2.2 percent to C$20.79.

Gold-mining shares were volatile, with the group paring its early losses to trade higher. Goldcorp Inc (Toronto:G.TO - News) gained 0.1 percent to C$30.35.

In corporate news, Rona Inc (Toronto:RON.TO - News) reported lower quarterly revenue and profit as same-store sales fell due to extreme winter weather and a decline in home-building. Shares of the home improvement chain dropped 6.4 percent to C$11.58.

($1=$1.10 Canadian)

(Editing by Andrew Hay; and Peter Galloway)