TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index touched its highest in nearly six years on Wednesday as positive U.S. economic data supported market sentiment and shares of gold miners jumped with the price of bullion.
A report showed U.S. companies picked up the pace of hiring in March, suggesting the effects of harsh weather might be starting to taper off and setting the stage for the monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
The Toronto market climbed for a fourth straight session. It is up about 5.8 percent this year and is one of the strongest performers among major global indices.
“We’ve got to get used to extreme volatility, particularly in commodities,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. “But the market is going to saw tooth its way up.”
“On balance, things appear to be moving, slowly but surely, in a positive trend,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 38.40 points, or 0.27 percent, at 14,418.95.
“The TSX will probably surprise people,” said Michael, who has been increasing his Canadian investments. “To my mind, the Canadian market will be a sleeper this year.”
Five of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Wednesday.
Shares of gold producers jumped 3 percent, with Barrick Gold Corp rising 3.7 percent to C$20.46 and Goldcorp Inc gaining 2.9 percent to C$27.86.
Despite weakness in oil prices, shares of energy companies advanced. Suncor Energy Inc climbed 0.5 percent to C$38.81, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd added 0.6 percent to C$42.70.
In corporate news, Yamana Gold Inc planned to buy a 50-percent stake in Osisko Mining Corp’s (OSK.TO) mining and exploration assets for C$930 million ($843 million) in a move to block a hostile bid from Goldcorp. Osisko shares jumped 8.6 percent to C$7.47, and Yamana added 1.4 percent to C$9.85.
Agrium Inc said that a big backlog of grain shipments on Canada’s railways and a late start to spring planting will hurt its first-quarter profits. Shares of the fertilizer company gave back 1.8 percent to C$105.60.
Editing by Nick Zieminski