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Canada's benchmark index bounced back into positive territory for the year to date on Thursday, as part of a global stock market rally. At noon, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 175 points, or 2 per cent, to 9117 - putting it up 1.4 per cent for the year and marking its highest level since early January.

Nine of the 10 subindexes were higher, suggesting a widespread rally. Industrials were in the lead, rising 4.6 per cent. Energy stocks weren't far behind, rising 4.1 per cent after the price of crude oil moved back above $50 (U.S.) a barrel on growing optimism that the global economy could be on the verge of improving. Financials rose 3.2 per cent.

Materials were laggards, however, falling 4 per cent after the price of gold fell to $915 an ounce as investors saw little need for the safe haven investment.

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In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 264 points, or 3.4 per cent, to 8025. The broader S&P 500 was up 28 points, or 3.5 per cent, to 839 - marking its highest level since mid-February and a 26 per cent bounce from its 12-year low in early March.

For 2009, both indexes remained under water: The Dow is down 8.7 per cent year-to-date and the S&P 500 is down 7.1 per cent. However, the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index bounced back into positive territory on Thursday, and is now up 2.1 per cent for the year, after a 3.8 per cent rally.

At the S&P 500 on Thursday, all 10 subindexes were higher. Industrials were the strongest, rising 6.4 per cent. Consumer discretionary stocks rose 5.6 per cent and energy stocks rose 5.1 per cent. Financials lagged somewhat, with gains of 2.9 per cent.

Some of the more defensive areas of the market also lagged. Consumer staples rose 2.4 per cent and health care stocks were up just 0.7 per cent.

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