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S&P/TSX composite closes above 16,000 mark for the first time, loonie up

October 30, 2017 - 2:09 PM

TORONTO - Canada's largest stock index marched further into record territory Monday, closing above the 16,000 mark for the first time, despite modest declines on Wall Street.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose 49.27 points to 16,002.78, led primarily by strengthening oil and gas shares, with some additional lift coming from health-care stocks.

The energy sector was 1.76 per cent firmer as the December crude contract plumbed six month highs, advancing 25 cents to US$54.15 per barrel.

"The broader take-away from today is that we've seen a bit of strength certainly coming from the energy sector, which is an area that has plagued the index for much of this year," said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

"So in terms of the supply side we've seen a little bit of a bump to oil prices and that's clearly helping the TSX today broadly."

Fehr pegged the rising price of crude on expectations that OPEC production cuts or freezes could be extended following news that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, supports extending an agreement by other major producers to limit output beyond next March. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to take up the agreement at its next meeting on Nov. 30.

Energy gains also came on the back of better U.S. third-quarter GDP data reported last Friday, which boosted demand prospects for oil.

On the health-care front, an announcement by alcoholic beverage company Constellation Brands that it's buying a 9.9 per cent stake in medical marijuana producer Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) helped boost that sector by 3.66 per cent, with shares of the company surging 19 per cent to $15.22.

Meanwhile, U.S. stocks pulled back from their record-setting run on Monday, and indexes elsewhere around the world took a pause ahead of a frenetic week for markets.

Investors are waiting to see who will be President Donald Trump's pick to head the Federal Reserve, what several of the world's biggest central banks will decide on interest rates, and whether Apple and other big U.S. companies can keep piling their profits higher.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.45 points to 23,348.74. The S&P 500 index was down 8.24 points to 2,572.83 and the Nasdaq composite index edged back 2.30 points to 6,698.96.

In currency markets the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 77.90 cents US, up 0.22 of a U.S. cent.

Elsewhere in commodities, The December gold contract was up US$5.90 to US$1,277.70 an ounce. The December natural gas contract was unchanged at US$2.97 per mmBTU and the December copper contract added a penny at US$3.11 a pound.

- With files from The Associated Press.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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