TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index hit its highest-ever close on Monday as strength in the prices of commodities such as bullion and copper helped drive up shares in the materials sector.
Investors appeared to shrug off government figures that showed Canadian economic growth falling short of expectations in April, hurt by lower oil and gas production.
The Toronto market ended June 3.7 percent higher, having climbed in 11 of the last 12 months. The benchmark index also recorded its fourth straight quarterly advance. These gains have pushed the index near its all-time intraday high that it hit in June 2008.
“The TSX has finally caught up to where some of the other markets have been in the past couple of years,” said Philip Petursson, managing director, portfolio advisory group, at Manulife Asset Management.
“It does set up for a little bit more enthusiasm for the Canadian market,” he added.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 51.76 points, or 0.34 percent, at 15,146.01.
“It’s another great month for the Toronto stock market. I can’t remember a run this good for this long,” said Barry Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services.
“With low interest rates, a good outlook for profits and companies swimming in cash, the earnings multiples could continue to go higher,” he added.
Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Monday.
The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, advanced 0.5 percent, following gold and copper prices higher. Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO jumped 1.7 percent to C$19.54, and Teck Resources Ltd TCKb.TO climbed 2.1 percent to C$24.36.
Shares of energy producers strengthened 0.4 percent, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO rising 0.4 percent to C$49.03.
Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, were up slightly. Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO gained 0.3 percent to C$76.28, and Toronto Dominion Bank TD.TO rose 0.2 percent to C$54.93.
Editing by W Simon and Chizu Nomiyama