TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index edged higher for a second straight day on Wednesday as crude oil hit a 2015 high and lifted energy stocks, while a U.S. Federal Reserve statement clouded the U.S. economic outlook.
The Fed downgraded its view of the labor market and economy in Canada’s largest trading partner, leaving some investors to wonder what factors could coax the Toronto Stock Exchange’s benchmark S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE higher.
“Leaving oil aside, I don’t know what else can rescue the TSX, that’s my problem,” said Keith Richards, a portfolio manager and technical analyst at ValueTrend Wealth Management in Barrie, Ontario. “I‘m wait and see on oil, and that’s why I‘m wait and see on Toronto.”
Mixed earnings reports also buffeted the market.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc’s (VRX.TO) shares jumped 3.7 percent to C$256.30 on a stronger sales outlook, while disappointing earnings from business software company OpenText Corp OTC.TO pushed its stock down 6.3 percent to C$62.46.
Crude prices hit their highest level this year, and were on track for a more than 20 percent gain in April as U.S. data suggested a U.S. supply glut may be starting to ease.
The index’s energy group gained 0.9 percent, led by Canadian Oil Sands Ltd’s COS.TO 3.6 percent rise to C$12.66, and Suncor Energy Inc’s (SU.TO) 0.4 percent increase to C$39.88. Crescent Point Energy Corp CPG.TO added 1.5 percent to C$31.96.
The benchmark index unofficially ended up 1.27 points, or 0.01 percent, at 15,347.34. Six of its 10 main sectors fell, and there were just as many declining stocks as advancers.
“Gold stocks have really been trashed. The commodity seems to have bounced around a little bit. But ... maybe it’s settled down and maybe the stocks will take hope from that,” said John Kinsey, a portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities, adding that gold miners’ quarterly results so far have been reasonably good.
Additional reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Galloway