TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index jumped on Monday as hopes that this week’s Federal Reserve meeting would reaffirm support for the U.S. central bank’s easy monetary policy spurred sharp gains in shares of financial and energy companies.
The rise helped the market recover from its 1.5 percent loss last week, but the index remained in negative territory for the year.
As with global equity markets, Toronto stocks have been hit in recent weeks by fears the Fed will soon start scaling down its quantitative easing program, under which it buys $85 billion a month in bonds.
But markets on Monday turned optimistic that the Fed, at its two-day meeting that ends Wednesday, will reaffirm its commitment to supporting U.S. economic recovery
“Expectations continue to wax and wane with regard to the Fed’s intentions,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
“The last thing the Fed wants to do is to roil the markets. The Fed is aware that investors are hanging onto its every word,” he added. “If anything, I expect Bernanke to soothe the market’s fears.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 101.54 points, or 0.83 percent, at 12,288.90.
“People are feeling better. A little bit of confidence is slowly back up in our market,” said Fred Ketchen, director of equity trading at ScotiaMcLeod. “We might have overdone it on the downside, and it’s time to equal that now and show some response to modest economic growth.”
Data showing German wages rose at their fastest pace in almost four years at the start of 2013 and euro zone exports jumped in April lifted hopes that Europe was recovering from recession.
All of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, were up 0.8 percent. In the group, Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), the country’s biggest lender, gained 0.7 percent to C$60.43.
Brookfield Asset Management Inc (BAMa.TO) shares were up 2.6 percent, at C$36.89.
The investment company said on Sunday it will sell its Longview Timber holdings in the U.S. Pacific Northwest to Weyerhaeuser Co (WY.N) for $2.65 billion, including assumption of debt, and will sell a nearby paper and packaging business to KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp (KS.N) for $1.025 billion.
Shares of energy companies were up 1.4 percent.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) climbed 2.7 percent to C$30 and played the biggest role of any single stock in leading the market higher. Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) added 0.9 percent to C$31.24.
Miner Nevsun Resources Ltd (NSU.TO) fell nearly 9 percent to C$3.21 after it said it will be removed from the New York Stock Exchange’s Arca Gold Miners Index as output at its Bisha mine in Eritrea switches to copper from gold.
Editing by Peter Galloway