TSX edges higher in seesaw session after Yellen speech

Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:54pm EDT
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By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index edged higher in a seesaw session on Friday, led by financial and industrial stocks as investors raised bets for U.S. interest rate hikes this year after a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

For the week, the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index fell 0.3 percent. Still, it has rallied 27 percent since hitting a three-year low in January.

Much of the fluctuation in the index on Friday was driven by comments from Fed officials, said John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities.

The index reached its highest for the day after Yellen failed to lay out a clear roadmap for what the Fed needs to see to raise interest rates in a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

But most of the gains were pared as Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer reinforced the message that the U.S. economy has strengthened.

The odds of a U.S. rate hike as soon as September climbed to 30 percent from 21 percent on Thursday, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

The most influential movers on the index included financial and industrial stocks.

Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO: Quote) rose 0.9 percent to C$17.82, while Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) was up 0.2 percent at C$81.54.   Continued...

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