U.S. data, gold miners lift TSX to near six-year high

Wed Apr 2, 2014 4:41pm EDT
 
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose to a nearly six-year high on Wednesday, buoyed by U.S. economic data and a rally in shares of gold miners after the price of bullion advanced.

Private-sector data showed U.S. companies picked up the pace of hiring in March, suggesting the effects of harsh weather might be starting to taper off and setting the stage for the U.S. government's monthly nonfarm payrolls report, due out on Friday.

The Toronto market climbed for a fourth straight session. It is up about 6.2 percent this year and is one of the best performers among major global indexes.

"The economic data is robust enough to give investors confidence and not strong enough that the Fed will aggressively change its course," said Michael Newton, a director of wealth management and portfolio manager at ScotiaMcLeod, referring to the U.S. Federal Reserve's easy monetary policy.

"There's a bit of rotation going on," he added. "Companies and investors are positioned for the specter of higher interest rates and therefore are doing now a bit of rebalancing in their portfolios."

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 78.56 points, or 0.55 percent, at 14,459.11.

"The TSX will probably surprise people," said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds, who has been increasing his Canadian investments. "To my mind, the Canadian market will be a sleeper this year."

Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Wednesday.   Continued...

 
A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch