TSX rises at start of 2017, touches 20-month high

Tue Jan 3, 2017 4:50pm EST
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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Tuesday, touching its highest intraday level in more than 20 months, as financial, gold and energy shares gained on the first trading day of 2017.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 115.44 points, or 0.76 percent, at 15,403.03. It earlier touched 15,450.27, its highest since April 27, 2015.

The index rallied 17.5 percent in 2016 after slumping 11.1 percent in the prior year, helped by a partial recovery in the price of oil.

"It all revolves around oil... I think that is going to be the question mark for 2017, if oil prices continue to move up," said Ian Nakamoto, equity specialist at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier, a division of Raymond James.

Oil prices retreated on Tuesday from early 18-month highs as the U.S. dollar rallied to its highest level since 2002 and traders took profits. [O/R]

Still, the energy group rose 0.7 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO: Quote) advancing 2.1 percent to C$43.70.

Banks and insurers gained as bond yields mostly climbed after positive U.S. data and upbeat economic reports from China and Europe.

Higher bond yields reduce the value of insurance companies' liabilities and increase net interest margins of banks.   Continued...

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch