July 17, 2009 / 9:14 PM / in 8 years

CANADA STOCKS-TSX notches biggest weekly gain since mid-May

* TSX rises 0.63 percent to 10,369.42, up for 5th day

* Advances 6.3 percent for the week

* U.S. housing report spurs oil rally (Adds details, quotes)

By John McCrank

TORONTO, July 17 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished higher for a fifth straight session on Friday as firmer oil and metal prices boosted resource issues.

The TSX added 6.3 percent for the week, its biggest weekly gain since mid-May.

The price of U.S. crude oil CLc1 rose 2.5 percent to settle at $63.56 a barrel on the back of a report that showed construction of new U.S. homes and building permits rose more than expected in June, signaling a potential economic recovery. [ID:nSYD400097]

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) the biggest heavyweight gainer, rose 3.5 percent to C$33.95, while Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained 2.4 percent to C$63.01.

The S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 65.00 points, or 0.63 percent, at 10,369.42. Five of the TSX’s 10 main groups were higher, with energy gaining 1.73 percent and materials rising 1.39 percent.

A report this week out of China showing better than expected economic growth in the second quarter helped commodities prices on hopes of stronger demand.

“Oil seems to have stabilized ... gold seems to have turned around and it looks like it’s trying to stage a rally, and the numbers from China say that they’re on target for 8 percent GDP growth, and all of that bodes well for the Canadian commodities,” John Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities Ltd.

Teck Resources TCKb.TO gained 4.6 percent to C$23.42, while Goldcorp (G.TO) rose 1.6 percent to C$41.04 and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) added 1.4 percent to C$38.46.

Hopes for the economy got a boost as IBM (IBM.N) sharply raised its full-year earnings forecast and reported stronger than expected quarterly earnings. [ID:nN17477075]

But market optimism was tempered by a sharp drop in earnings and a dour outlook by Bank of America (BAC.N), the largest U.S. bank, while General Electric Co (GE.N) said its revenues fell 17 percent, missing analysts’ expectations, while its profit sagged by nearly half. [ID:nSP533186]

Canadian earnings season begins in earnest next week.

Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager and president at KCM Wealth Management Inc in Vancouver, said the market will be watching closely for adjustments to company forecasts, and those are what will decide the direction of the TSX.

He said it may be too soon to expect a real economic rebound.

“If we look at GE in the U.S., it is representative of a lot of things, because they’re in so many businesses, and they had a fair whack of reduction in profits.”

$1=$1.11 Canadian Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson

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