TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index edged closer to the historic 20,000 point mark for energy sector gains as crude prices hit a two-and-a-half-year high.
The S & P / TSX Composite Index closed 28.94 points higher at 19,774.41 after hitting an intraday high of 19,835.27.
In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 141.59 points to 34,464.64. The S&P 500 Index was up 4.89 points to 4,200.88, while the Nasdaq composite was down 1.72 points to 13,736.28.
âCanada keeps climbing,â said Michael Currie, vice president and investment advisor at TD Wealth Management.
The Toronto market has climbed 13.4% so far in 2021, ahead of a gain of 12.6% for the Dow Jones, 11.8% for the S&P and 6.6% for the highly technical Nasdaq.
“After so many years and long periods of outsider America, it’s nice to see us fighting them for a change.”
Energy was a big contributor, fueled by a 37.8 percent increase in crude oil prices.
The sector gained about a percentage point on Thursday as crude oil prices hit their highest level since October 29, 2018.
The July crude oil contract rose 64 cents to US $ 66.85 per barrel and the July natural gas contract fell 6.9 cents to US $ 2.96 per mmBTU.
Shares of Vermilion Energy Inc. rose 3.4 percent and Crescent Point Energy Corp. 2.1 percent.
Prices have risen due to a reduction in US oil stocks, which was partly offset by lingering fears that a possible Iran nuclear deal would add half a million barrels a day to global supplies.
âThe trend is still pretty nice and positive, but it’s not a big change today,â Currie said in an interview.
The Canadian dollar traded for 82.83 US cents, against 82.58 US cents on Wednesday.
Consumer discretionary dominated the TSX as auto parts makers Martinrea International Inc., Linamar Corp. and Magna International Inc. rose 5.6, 4.1 and 3.6 percent, respectively.
Shares climbed as Ford and General Motors forecast a major shift towards production of electric vehicles.
The heavyweight financial sector was also strong after strong quarterly banking results pushed CIBC up 2.9% and Royal Bank 1.3%, but TD stocks fell 2.5%.
BMO and the three banks reporting Thursday posted strong results that beat expectations as loan loss provisions were lower than expected.
âThese institutions all think the vaccines are starting to roll out, people are going back to work, things are reopening, you have to start seeing more lending activity,â Currie said.
“People were looking for good news, but it’s a little better than we expected.”
Materials slipped on lower gold prices although copper prices were higher. Barrick Gold Corp. lost 5.2 percent while logging company Interfor Corp. lost 4.5 percent.
The August gold contract fell US $ 5.30 to US $ 1,898.50 an ounce and the July copper contract rose 13.35 cents to US $ 4.66 per pound .
US equity markets have been relatively weak despite strong economic growth in the last quarter and improving jobless claims.
Annualized US GDP growth was 6.4% last quarter, as the number of people claiming first-time benefits fell for a third week in a row to a pandemic low of 406,000 last week.
Currie attributed the market’s performance to lingering concerns about inflation.
“It just keeps going up day by day and it’s putting a bit of time to scale some of the gains in New York.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 27, 2021