TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index climbed on Thursday, boosted by advances in shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) after the companies reported quarterly results.
CIBC shares gained 1 percent after the lender’s first-quarter profit jumped 50 percent, driven by stronger domestic lending profits and a gain on the sale of half of its Aeroplan credit card portfolio to Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO).
TD, the country’s second-largest lender, reported a 15 percent rise in first-quarter profit and boosted its dividend by 9 percent. The stock climbed 0.7 percent.
Investors digested data showing a rise in orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods excluding transportation last month. Separate figures indicated that the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits gained last week. <ID: nL1N0LW132>
The market also took heart from comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said weather could have played a part in recent signs of weakness in the world’s biggest economy.
The Toronto market has outperformed the S&P 500 .SPX so far in 2014, rising about 4.4 percent.
“I see a pretty resilient market. It doesn’t seem to want to go down,” said Ian Nakamoto, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier.
“As long as interest rates stay low, economic growth continues to improve and earnings meet or exceed expectations, we’ll keep moving up,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 25.77 points, or 0.18 percent, at 14,214.35.
Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, added 0.5 percent, driven by CIBC and TD. The results from most of the country’s major banks, which began reporting results this week, have topped market expectations and reflected strength in the industry.
“The banks are in a sweet spot where you would want to own them. We’ve been pretty pleased with the sector,” said Arthur Salzer, executive director and chief executive officer of Northland Wealth Management.
“The yield curve is a good environment for the banks, and their wealth management departments are firing on all cylinders.”
With the price of oil slipping, shares of energy producers declined. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNQ.TO) shed 0.9 percent to C$40.38, and Talisman Energy gave back 1.5 percent to C$11.37.
In other corporate news, Valeant posted a quarterly profit driven by the acquisition of contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb Holdings Inc. The stock was up 1.6 percent at C$164.96.
Catamaran Corp CCT.TO tumbled 11.1 percent, to C$51.25, after the pharmacy benefits manager reported quarterly results and gave an outlook for the year.
Editing by Stephen Powell and Diane Craft