TSX nears two-month high as central bank actions boost

Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:35pm EST
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By John Tilak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index advanced to its highest in almost two months on Thursday, buoyed by the European Central Bank's massive stimulus measures and an unexpected rate cut by the Bank of Canada.

The Bank of Canada cut interest rates on Wednesday in an effort to ease the impact of weaker oil prices on the Canadian economy. The move fueled a 1.8 percent jump in the TSX on Wednesday.

The ECB on Thursday launched a government bond-buying program to inject hundreds of billions of euros into the euro zone's flagging economy.

The central bank moves helped the Canadian benchmark index turn positive on the year, recovering from a slump in the energy sector that was triggered by lower oil prices.

"We don't think the price of oil can stay down very long. But energy shares are going to go through a wild up-and-down phase," said Douglas Davis, vice chairman at Davis-Rea.

"We may have to test low levels before going up again," he added.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 203.56 points, or 1.4 percent, at 14,763.98. All 10 of the main industry sectors on the index were higher.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, climbed 0.8 percent. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO: Quote) added 1.5 percent to C$78.05, and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) advanced 1.6 percent to C$63.78.   Continued...

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch