TSX hits 2009 high

Strong commodity prices buoyed the TSX Tuesday, with the benchmark Canadian stock index sitting at a 2009 high of 11,703.8 at midafternoon, up 256 points on the day.

Greenback anxiety returns as Canadian dollar flirts with 96 cents

Strong commodity prices buoyed the TSX on Tuesday, with the benchmark Canadian stock index sitting at a 2009 high of 11,703.8 at mid-afternoon, up 256 points on the day.

The gains were broad-based, as all eight of the exchange's subindexes were in solidly positive territory. The raw materials and commodities sectors led the way, but financial firms also trended higher.

On the back of the strength in commodities, the Canadian dollar was up more than a cent against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, nearing 96 cents US.

The loonie was trading at 95.86 cents US at 2 p.m. ET, up 1.12 cents.

The loonie has posted strong gains in 2009 and is nearing parity again with the U.S. dollar, which it hit in September 2007 for the first time since the 1970s.

The loonie's spike appeared to be caused by general weakness in the greenback against other world currencies, especially ones from economies with a strong commodities base such as Canada's.

The Canadian dollar was bolstered by a comment from a senior Russian central bank official that the country will buy loonies in the next few months to diversify its currency reserves. Russia had previously mentioned plans to buy Canadian and Australian dollars in the near term, but had not specified when.

Gold was up roughly $19 an ounce, flirting with the $1,200 US level. Gold is traditionally seen as a hedge against the American dollar.

With files from The Canadian Press