Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Stock Market Closes Higher amid China Data and Strong Commodity Prices

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Stock Market Closes Higher amid China Data and Strong Commodity Prices

Article excerpt

TSX closes higher amid surging commodities

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TORONTO - The Toronto stock market ended Thursday with a solid three-digit gain as it was lifted by strong advances in the gold, metals and materials sectors, along with positive economic data from China.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 140.19 points to 12,552.92, while the Canadian dollar surged 0.92 of a cent to 96.86 cents US.

The commodities-heavy TSX was boosted by figures from China that showed exports and imports both increased in July, beating expectations and easing concerns over a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. Exports were up 5.1 per cent from a year earlier, while imports jumped 10.9 per cent.

"It's a combination of things. There's some positive data out of China today that is likely supporting the commodities space, both on the materials and energy side," said Gareth Watson, vice-president of investment management and research at Richardson GMP Ltd.

"Overall, the earnings are definitely helping, but there is definitely a macro story to it as well."

The positive data also helped push December gold bullion ahead $24.60 to US$1,309.90 an ounce, while copper climbed nine cents to $3.27. The September crude oil contract moved down 97 cents to US$103.40 a barrel.

The exchange was helped by strong gains in the metals and mining sector, which rose by 7.36 per cent, as shares in Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ) climbed more than 12 per cent to $5.10 after it announced an $600-million loan from Rio Tinto PLC that will help it fund its $6.2 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia. Shares in Thompson Creek Metals Co. (TSX:TCM) also gained 11.74 per cent to $3.30 after it announced the name of a new chief executive.

Nearly all sectors were up on the TSX, except for energy, telecom and utilities.

U.S. indexes also registered some gains after being mixed for most of the day. The Dow Jones industrials was ahead 27.65 points to 15,498.32, the Nasdaq climbed 15.12 points to 3,669.12, while the S&P 500 went up 6.57 points to 1,697.48.

Watson said the fluctuations in the U.S. markets shouldn't worry investors too much, considering the indexes are faring well overall year-to-date.

"Sometimes, in terms of that momentum we've been getting based off of economic data or earnings reports, it's just tough sometimes to keep that momentum going," he said.

"We've had a really good stretch here since the beginning of July up until now. I think the market is just pacing itself, more than anything else."

In economic news, the latest figures showed that the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits over the past month has fallen to its lowest level in almost six years, signalling fewer layoffs and a strengthening U. …

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