TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished higher on Friday as stronger bullion prices pushed up shares of heavyweight miners such as Barrick Gold and Goldcorp, while Suncor Energy rose on multibillion-dollar plans to boost crude production.
Barrick, the top influential advancer on the index, rose 1.9 percent to C$45.10, while Goldcorp was also up 1.9 percent at C$46.25 as the price of gold rose back within striking distance of its record high.
“The action on the upside is being led by the materials stocks, specifically the big gold producers. That is to be expected because gold seems to be reaching new highs practically every week,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
Suncor was also a top gainer, rising 1.2 percent to C$36.89. The country’s biggest oil company said on Friday it would budget C$5.5 billion for capital expenditures next year and would restart construction at an oil sands project.
The S&P/TSX composite index rose 46.92 points, or 0.41 percent, at 11,407.68, with six of its 10 main sectors higher. The index is up 1.4 percent for the week.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index closed 2.74 points higher, or 0.41 percent, at 678.27.
Earlier in the day, soft U.S. economic data threatened to tug the market lower.
U.S. consumer sentiment fell in early November amid a grim outlook for job prospects, while a larger than expected U.S. trade deficit had economists scaling back estimates for third-quarter economic growth.
“The market reaction was quite negative when the news was released,” Francis Campeau, a broker at MF Global Canada in Montreal, said of the consumer sentiment reading.
However, U.S. stocks managed to bounce higher as investors focused on retail issues, which rose as JC Penney Co Inc said earnings for the holiday quarter could beat estimates and Abercrombie & Fitch Co posted better than expected results.
For most of Friday afternoon, Toronto stocks remained relatively flat in a sign of market indecision.
“We’re having a heck of a time breaking through 11,500 with any degree of conviction,” said Picardo. “Unless we break through that level with conviction investors are going to be a little concerned that they could possibly be at a near-term top for the TSX.”
Influential names on the downside included EnCana Corp, down 1.4 percent at C$58.41, and Manulife Financial, which dropped 1.5 percent to C$20.07. Research In Motion fell 1 percent to C$65.95.
Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson