TSX moves higher to end the week as materials offset energy pullback

TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index moved higher to end a week that saw it falter a little after hitting an all-time high.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 37.36 points at 16,613.46, ending a two-day slide.

A financial tote board is shown in Toronto's financial district on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018.
A financial tote board is shown in Toronto’s financial district on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018.  (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The market rose as gains in the materials sector offset an energy pullback prompted by comments from U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, the TSX hit a record closing price of 16,669.40.

The market should gradually rise to surpass that threshold, although gains for the rest of the year won’t match the near 16 per cent gain so far this year, said Kevin Headland, senior investment Strategist at Manulife Investments.

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“I wouldn’t be surprised if we surpassed the highs reached already both on the TSX and in the U.S. I think there’s enough support for an upward trajectory,” he said in an interview.

Eight of the 11 major sectors rose on the day with materials gaining 1.95 per cent, followed by health care. Several precious metal miners saw their shares rise by up to 4.8 per cent, while Sherritt International lost nearly 29 per cent after the company reported disappointing earnings blamed on low cobalt prices and complications in Cuba.

The June gold contract was up US$ 9.10 at US$ 1,288.80 an ounce and the July copper contract was up 2.65 cents at US$ 2.89 a pound.

The energy sector was off by 1.8 per cent as Encana Corp. was down 2.9 per cent, followed by Frontera Energy Corp. and Crescent Point Energy Corp.

Part of the decline was due to lower oil prices, which fell after Trump said he told OPEC to take action to reduce fuel costs.

“It’s interesting how the markets are moving just based on his comments and not any actual news,” said Headland.

The June crude contract was down US$ 1.91 at US$ 63.30 per barrel and the June natural gas contract up 3.2 cents at US$ 2.58 per mmBTU.

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The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 74.29 cents US compared with an average of 74.11 cents US on Thursday.

U.S. markets also rose Friday despite mixed earnings reports.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 81.25 points at 26,543.33. The S&P 500 index was up 13.71 points at 2,939.88, while the Nasdaq composite was up 27.72 points at 8,146.40.

Headland said he doesn’t see any impact from U.S. economic growth surpassing expectations in the first quarter as the gross domestic product increased at a 3.2-per-cent annualized rate.

“Yes the number looked good and the initial reaction is positive, but…some of the underlying data was not perhaps as strong as the headlines might suggest,” he added.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ECA, TSX:FEC, TSX:CPG, TSX:S, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)