TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index reached its highest level in almost 6 years on Friday as investors cheered a bullish U.S. jobs report and shrugged off sluggish Canadian labor data, with energy and bank shares driving the gains.
The Toronto market has climbed in each of the last six sessions and is up nearly 9 percent this year.
Downbeat Canadian jobs and productivity data released indicated that the economy was still struggling to recover fully.
Figures showed that U.S. employers kept up a solid pace of hiring in May, returning employment to pre-recession level and offering confirmation the economy has snapped back from a winter slump.
“It’s quite a contrast with the jobs scenario for a second month running,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
“Sentiment for the TSX is positive,” he added. “With the resurgence in the energy group and the advance in the financials, things are looking good.”
The latest wave of economic data comes on the heels of the European Central Bank’s move to cut rates to record lows, and investors looked to process what it might mean for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus program.
“The takeaway from this data is that they are not going to change the Fed’s policy task,” said Stephen Wood, chief market strategist, North America, at Russell Investments. “We can expect the extraordinary quantitative easing will be tapered on schedule.”
“With the European Central Bank’s announcement yesterday, we’re officially in a global monetary easing environment,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 38.72 points, or 0.26 percent, at 14,838.90. Seven of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
Shares of energy producers added 0.3 percent. Suncor Energy Inc climbed 1 percent to C$42.85, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd rose 1.1 percent to C$45.99.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, were up 0.3 percent, with Toronto Dominion Bank gaining 0.6 percent to C$54.87.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, slipped 0.3 percent, reflecting weakness in the prices of gold and copper.
Goldcorp Inc lost 1.3 percent to C$25.14, and Teck Resources Ltd declined 1.8 percent to C$23.64.
Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Diane Craft