WatchStocks all over the world soar on hopes central banks will ride

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TORONTO — Strengthening oil prices propelled North American markets to a second big rally in as many days, allowing them to post their first weekly gains of the new year.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index soared 353.72 points to 12,389.58, adding to a big 192-point gain on Thursday.The commodity-sensitive loonie also benefited from the bounce in oil prices, rising 0.64 of a U.S. cent to 70.67 cents US.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 210.83 points at 16,093.51, while the S&P 500 advanced 37.91 points to 1,906.90 and the Nasdaq rose 119.12 points to 4,591.18.Rising oil prices were a major factor in the rallies on both sides of the border as the March contract for benchmark crude rose $2.66 or nine per cent to US$32.19 a barrel.Elsewhere in commodities, February natural gas was unchanged at US$2.14 per mmBtu and March copper advanced a penny to US$2.00 a pound, while February gold slumped $1.90 to US$1,096.30 an ounce.Goldman Sachs analyst Jeffrey Currie said energy prices have fallen so far that the industry is making real cuts in production.Sell on the dead cat bounce because stocks have further to fall, warns smart moneyHow to survive a bear attack“We are now at a price level that is creating real fundamental change,” Currie told The Associated Press, although he conceded it will take a long time for the market to recover from the huge decline energy prices have already suffered.Low energy prices are good for many industries and consumers, but traders worry that falling energy prices tend to presage a big slowdown in the global economy.The boost on North American markets followed big rallies Friday in Europe and Asian amid expectations central banks are poised to inject more stimulus into flagging economies.Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which earlier this week moved into bear market territory, rose 5.9 per cent on expectations the Bank of Japan will move to stimulate the economy.Rallies on European markets also strengthened after the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said the bank had many options to boost inflation and is determined and willing to act. On Thursday, Draghi suggested the bank will consider more stimulus action at its next meeting in March.France’s CAC 40 added 3.1 per cent, Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 2.2 per cent and Germany’s DAX rose two per cent. read more