TSX jumps as investors cheer oil data; Fed in spotlight

Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:40pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index jumped on Wednesday, helped by gains in banks, railways and oil companies as crude prices bounced from near six-month lows and the Federal Reserve left the door open for a September interest rate hike.

The U.S. central bank said the economy and job market of Canada's main trading partner continues to strengthen, which was seen as a baby step toward higher rates.

"The Fed tone was encouraging, that's a big thing, crude oil is up, (and) you're seeing bargain hunting in some of the beaten-down names," said Elvis Picardo, a strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "It's a bunch of positive factors."

Oil prices LCOc1 CLc1 settled higher, recovering from multi-month lows, after U.S. government data showed a surprisingly large crude stockpile draw that signaled the market may have been wrong in predicting slumping demand for energy. [O/R]

The energy, financial and industrial sectors all clocked gains of more than 2 percent. Those groups featured among laggards during a seven-day slump the index snapped on Tuesday.

"Energy was hit so hard, on Monday it felt like a bottomless pit ... (so) it stands to reason that if there's a temporary turnaround in sentiment for the sector, it'll be led by the big names," Picardo said.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO: Quote) jumped 4.3 percent to C$34.62, while Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO: Quote) lost 1.3 percent to C$30.75.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 224.44 points, or 1.59 percent, at 14,301.80.   Continued...

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