Canada’s main stock market in Toronto edged up on Thursday as the resources shares lifted the trading sentiment amid positive U.S. economic data.
Toronto Stock Exchange’s benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 84.07 points, or 0.56 percent, to 15,026.62 points, with gains seen across the board. The Canadian stock market will be closed Friday due to Good Friday holiday.
The index was boosted in the midday trading when the U.S. Labor Department said the labor market continued to expand at a solid pace.
The U.S. Labor Department said in the week ending March 28, the jobless claims fell by 20,000 to 268,000, almost the lowest level in 15 years. Moreover, the U.S. Commerce Department also reported on Thursday that new orders for manufactured goods increased 0.2 percent in February.
Canadian economic policy makers believed that the recovery of U. S. economy will boost Canada’s export, which will benefit the Canadian economy directly. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said on March 30 that a slump in oil prices is having an ” atrocious” effect on the economy, but a cheaper Canadian currency and U.S. economic revival should help exports drive a recovery.
Energy sector led the TSX market gain by 1.77 percent although the May crude oil contract slipped 0.95 U.S. dollar to 49.14 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Suncor Energy Inc. jumped 3.76 percent to 38.65 Canadian dollars (about 30.76 U.S. dollars) and Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. surged 5.68 percent to 10.79 Canadian dollars.
Another resources group Metals and Mining rose 1.08 percent as First Quantum Minerals Ltd. climbed 2.74 percent to 16.12 Canadian dollars, while Teck Resources Ltd. added 0.94 percent to 17.15 Canadian dollars.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, added 0. 22 percent with Royal Bank of Canada up 0.72 percent to 76.80 Canadian dollars.
In other major gainers, Info-tech and Telecom was up 0.87 percent and 0.71 percent, respectively.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada said Thursday Canada’s imports declined 0.7 percent in February while exports were up 0.4 percent. Consequently, Canada’s merchandise trade deficit with the world narrowed from 1.5 billion Canadian dollars in January to 984 million Canadian dollars in February.
And Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver Thursday finally announced that Economic Action Plan 2015 will be tabled on April 21, after weeks of delay due to the oil price plunge.
Although the economy is weighed by the oil slump, Oliver didn’t think the economy is heading into a recession, and he believed that Canada does not need the kind of stimulus budget during the great recession in 2008.
On the currency front, the Canadian dollar on Thursday closed higher to 0.7959 U.S. dollar from 0.7920 U.S. dollar on Wednesday. Enditem