TORONTO -- North American stock markets rallied Friday to close a week of losses with big gains, propelled by a more than 12 per cent jump in crude oil prices.

The March contract for crude oil shot up more than US$3 a barrel to US$29.44.

Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index was up 293.87 or 2.4 per cent at 12,381.24.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 313.66 points or two per cent at 15,973.84, while the broader S&P 500 advanced 35.7 points or 1.95 per cent to 1,864.78 and the Nasdaq gained 70.67 or 1.66 per cent to 4,337.51.

The increase in oil prices also helped the commodity-sensitive loonie, which added 0.31 of a US cent to 72.14 cents US.

Elsewhere in commodities, the March contract for natural gas slipped 2.8 cents to US$1.966 per mmBtu, while March copper rose 2.25 cents to US$2.029 a pound. However, gold bullion, which has enjoyed a big run-up in recent days amid a general flight to safety, saw the April contract give back $8.40 to US$1,239.40 a troy ounce.