TSX rises, helped by banks, telcos, while uncertainty lingers

Thu Sep 3, 2015 5:29pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Gains among banking and telecom stocks helped lift Canada's main stock index on Thursday, while a modest bump in the price of crude oil was not enough to lure investors back into the country's struggling energy sector.

Investor sentiment got a slight boost from data showing healthy growth in exports for a second straight month in July, although caution remains the underlying theme following last week's confirmation of a mild recession in the first half.

"People are picking away where they see some interesting opportunities outside energy, but otherwise there's a lot of playing around going on," said Brian Pow, an equity analyst at Acumen Capital Partners in Calgary.

He said the consensus view on when a recovery could take hold in the energy industry has pushed out to the middle to the end of next year.

The most influential movers included its biggest telecom companies, with BCE Inc (BCE.TO: Quote) rising 1.9 percent to C$53.85, Telus Corp (T.TO: Quote) advancing 1.8 percent to C$43.16, and Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO: Quote) adding 2.5 percent to C$44.70.

The financials group, the index's most influential, climbed 0.7 percent, with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) up 0.9 percent to C$71.95, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote) advancing 1.1 percent to C$59.05, and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO: Quote) gaining 0.8 percent to C$51.79.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 51.16 points, or 0.38 percent, at 13,596.

"People might be reading through the technical recession ... and some of that positivity is showing itself in the market today," said Bryden Teich, associate portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management.   Continued...

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