TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose on Thursday as shares of energy producers held on to gains despite falling oil prices, while most other major sectors were lifted by positive U.S. economic data.
Oil prices dropped as Iran and world powers reached a preliminary pact on Tehran’s nuclear program. The agreement may eventually lead to higher Iranian oil exports. [O/R]
Data showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week, indicating strength in the world’s biggest economy.
The benchmark Canadian stock index, which fell in March, ended the week higher. It is up about 2.5 percent so far this year. The market is closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.
“The volatility is there, the trend is still up,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds. “The markets will saw-tooth to higher levels.”
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 84.07 points, or 0.56 percent, at 15,026.62. Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.
The energy sector advanced 1.8 percent. Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO jumped 3.8 percent to C$38.65 and was the most influential gainer on the index. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO added 0.6 percent to C$39.32.
Financial shares rose, with Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO climbing 0.7 percent to C$76.80, and Bank of Montreal BMO.TO gaining 0.8 percent to C$76.40.
Editing by Peter Galloway