TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index recorded its biggest single-day jump in more than two months on Wednesday, driven higher by supportive comments on U.S. employment by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and bullish economic data from China.
Yellen said the U.S. economy appeared to be slowly moving toward full employment, but that it would need help from the central bank for some time to come.
Data showed a 7.4 percent expansion in the Chinese economy in the first quarter. While the growth was at its slowest pace in 18 months, the fact that it managed to top market expectations was enough to cheer investors.
Investors also digested news that the Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate at 1 percent, as expected, but the central bank's head Stephen Poloz said an interest rate cut was still a possibility.
The Toronto market climbed for a third straight session and is up about 6 percent this year.
"That momentum seems to be growing," said Marcus Xu, president and portfolio manager at MY Capital Management Corp in Vancouver.
"It looks like the U.S. economic recovery is doing really well, Canada may change rates and a lot of foreign investors are buying Canadian stocks," he added. Xu expects the TSX to outperform the S&P 500 .SPX this year.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 142.60 points, or 1 percent, at 14,446.52. All of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
In corporate news, Metro Inc (MRU.TO) shares jumped 2.5 percent, to C$65.86, after the grocer reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its dividend.
Osisko Mining Corp (OSK.TO) said it has reached a C$3.9 billion ($3.6 billion) deal to sell most of its assets to Yamana Gold Inc (YRI.TO) and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd (AEM.TO) as it battles to thwart a hostile takeover bid from Goldcorp Inc (G.TO).
Osisko's shares jumped 6.9 percent to C$7.94, and Goldcorp was up 0.9 percent at C$26.22. But Yamana gave back 3.8 percent to $8.83, and Agnico lost 8.2 percent to C$30.71.
Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Grant McCool