Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Stock Market Closes Higher after Canadian Data, US Fed Comment

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Stock Market Closes Higher after Canadian Data, US Fed Comment

Article excerpt

TSX ahead after improved GDP figures

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TORONTO - The Toronto stock market ended higher on Monday as new data about the Canadian economy and comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve gave investors reason to cheer.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 74.59 points to close at 14,335.31.

The Canadian dollar was at 90.46 cents US, rising 0.04 of a cent, after Statistics Canada reported the economy grew more than expected in January. Gross domestic product rose by 0.5 per cent, ahead of the forecast of 0.3 per cent growth.

Economists had expected the economy to rebound after declining 0.5 per cent in December, when bad weather affected much of the country.

Gareth Watson, vice-president of investment management and research at Richardson GMP Ltd., said he wouldn't use the GDP figures as a barometer for good things to come.

"Canada still probably faces more challenges and more headwinds compared to the United States and some other economies," he said.

"The data that's coming out on Canada is not making people overly bearish, but there is a bit of concern, and I think a great indicator of that is the loonie.

The loonie has tumbled four per cent so far this year.

In the United States, investors anxious that the Fed might raise short-term rates starting in mid-2015 were given a clearer road map for the coming months.

Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen said she thinks the struggling U.S. job market will continue to need the help of low interest rates "for some time." Yellen previously suggested that the Fed could start raising short-term rates six months after it halts its bond purchases, which most economists expect by year's end.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials added 134.60 points to 16,457.66, the Nasdaq lifted 43.23 points to 4,198.99 and the S&P 500 index rose 14.72 points to 1,872.34.

In commodities, the May crude oil contract fell nine cents to settle at $101.58, with the TSX energy sector 0.7 per cent higher.

Gold stocks were the biggest decliner as June bullion fell $10. …

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