Positive U.S. data helps drive TSX higher

Thu Nov 5, 2009 5:00pm EST
 
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index finished higher on Thursday as U.S. business productivity and weekly jobs data helped to lift investor confidence in the economic recovery.

The figures showed third-quarter business productivity grew at the fastest pace in six years and that new claims for jobless aid fell to a 10-month low last week, indicating the decline in the labor market may be hitting bottom.

"The U.S. productivity numbers basically shot the lights out. It was a really good print," said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.

Among the top Toronto gainers were Royal Bank of Canada, up 2.5 percent at C$55.58, and Toronto-Dominion Bank, which climbed 2.9 percent to C$64.80. Teck Resources was up 4.8 percent at C$33.38.

As well, Kerkovius said rosy earnings results from U.S. technology bellwether Cisco, released on Wednesday, helped to boost sentiment.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended up 109.50 points, or 0.99 percent, at 11,180.70, with all of its 10 main groups higher.

"There's a lot of green on the screen," said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets. "We're slightly upward bias-based because the U.S. is up so much. Left to its own measures I think Toronto would be sort of flattish."

Threatening to tug the index lower through the day were insurers Sun Life Financial Inc, down 6.5 percent at C$28.16, and Manulife Financial Corp, which retreated 3.55 percent to C$19.86. Both reported surprise losses on Thursday.   Continued...

 
<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>