Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mining, Energy Stocks Boost Toronto Market, Loonie Climbs Following GDP Data

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mining, Energy Stocks Boost Toronto Market, Loonie Climbs Following GDP Data

Article excerpt

Commodities help lift Toronto stock market

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Canada's main stock index closed up Friday as mining and energy stocks rose, while U.S. stocks also notched gains and the loonie moved higher following positive economic data.

The rise in energy stocks came as crude prices continued their run this week with a 70-cent gain Friday for the August crude contract to close at US$74.15 per barrel.

Over the past four days oil has climbed US$6.07 or 8.9 per cent, sparked in part by a U.S. crackdown on allies buying Iranian oil and supply disruptions at the Syncrude oilsands operation.

The S&P/TSX energy index was up more than one per cent Friday, as were indexes for gold, base metals and materials to help the S&P/TSX composite index close up 97.84 points at 16,277.73. For the week the index was down 1.05 per cent.

High oil prices have helped support the Canadian dollar, but the loonie jumped following the release of stronger-than-expected Canadian GDP figures and Bank of Canada survey results that showed high business confidence.

Overall, the Canadian dollar averaged 75.94 cents US, up 0.57 of a US on Friday.

The Bank of Canada survey showed the highest level of confidence since the second quarter of 2011, though the bank noted many companies were interviewed before the U.S. announced steel and aluminum tariffs.

Economic data was also encouraging, as Statistics Canada said the real gross domestic product edged up 0.1 per cent in April over the previous month, topping the expectations of economists for no change for the month.

The combined data has increased expectations from some that the Bank of Canada will go ahead with a July rate hike.

Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates and macro strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said the solid increase in the outlook survey indicator shows the economy was in good shape.

"With governor Poloz saying that the bank will not be shaping policy based on headlines, and the economic backdrop in generally good shape, there's a solid case for a July rate hike," Reitzes wrote in a report. …

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