A Toronto Stock Exchange logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Canada’s main stock index rallied on Friday ahead of the Victoria Day holiday long weekend, led by energy shares as oil prices rose, while the financials and materials groups also climbed.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 181.3 points, or 1.19 per cent, at 15,458.46 as the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil rose nearly $1 to $50.29 (U.S.). Spot gold also gained, up 0.6 per cent at $1,253.87 to close at it’s highest level in five weeks.
The energy sector led the gains, up 3.25 per cent. Cenovus Energy added. 3.65 per cent and Lundin Mining was up 4.68 per cent. All but one of the index’s 10 sectors rose.
The Canadian dollar was trading at 73.97 cents (U.S.), up half a cent. Canadian economic data showed the country’s annual inflation rate held steady in April, while March retail sales climbed more than expected, suggesting consumer spending was holding up.
Home Capital Group Inc., which has been struggling to finance its assets after Canada’s biggest securities regulator accused the company of making misleading statements to investors, rose 3.4 per cent to $9.17 after it reported a rise in its savings deposit balances.
In the U.S., stocks ended up but well off the session highs on Friday after two new reports related to a U.S. federal investigation into possible co-ordination between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign renewed concerns about his political future.
Overall, though, stocks rallied as strong corporate earnings lifted investors’ spirits in a week dominated by uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 141.82 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 20,804.84, the S&P 500 gained 16.01 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,381.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 28.57 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 6,083.70.
Wall Street’s major indexes were down for the week and Nasdaq was set for its biggest weekly drop since mid-April after reports earlier this week that President Trump tried to interfere in a federal investigation.
Mr. Trump left on Friday for his first foreign trip since taking office in the hopes of shifting the focus away from domestic controversies.
“You’ve had no Washington drama today and decent earnings,” said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston. “It’s the cyclical parts of the market that are moving today and the defensives are lagging. With Washington not in the headlines, we can focus on the economy, and the economy is in good shape in our view.”
The market has not fully regained the ground lost in Wednesday’s selloff as investors continued to doubt whether Mr. Trump will be able to fulfill campaign promises for fiscal stimulus and tax reform.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 186.75 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 20,849.77; the S&P 500 gained 22.8 points, or 0.96 per cent, to 2,388.52; and the Nasdaq Composite added 49.89 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 6,105.02.
For the week, the Dow and S&P were off 0.4 per cent, and the Nasdaq dipped 0.6 per cent.
Strong quarterly earnings from companies such as Autodesk Inc. and Deere & Co. helped. Autodesk jumped 14.6 per cent and was among the biggest percentage gainers on the S&P and the Nasdaq. The software maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue on Thursday.
Deere hit an all-time high of $122.24 and was last up 7.0 per cent after the farm and construction equipment maker posted a better-than-estimated quarterly profit.
Deere helped lift Caterpillar Inc. by 2.2 per cent. General Electric Co was the S&P’s top driver with a 1.8 per cent rise.
The U.S. dollar fell on Friday, adding to its worst week since April, 2016, against a basket of major currencies, and having surrendered the gains made since Donald Trump was elected U.S. president.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six world currencies, has shed more than 2 per cent this week. On Friday, it fell 0.75 per cent, hitting its lowest since Nov. 9, the day after the U.S. election.
Of the 452 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, about 75 per cent have topped earnings expectations. In a typical quarter, about 64 per cent beat estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with industrials , materials, energy and financials all gaining about 1 per cent.
Energy shares were boosted by a 2 per cent increase in oil futures on growing expectations that OPEC and other producing countries will agree at a meeting next week to extend crude output cuts.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was up 1.8 per cent after BMO upgraded the stock to “market perform” from “underperform.” The move followed Wal-Mart’s report on Thursday of higher-than-expected quarterly sales at established U.S. stores.