TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rebounded on Thursday as financial and energy stocks, bolstered by a rally in oil prices, pushed the TSX to its best performance in more than a week.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX.TO) was by far the most influential individual gainer on the index, rising 2.4 percent to C$285.23. The company is in talks to buy Egyptian drugmaker Amoun Pharmaceutical Co, according to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday.
The overall energy sector climbed more than 2.2 percent, tracking higher oil prices, which rose on expectations that excess global crude supply was starting to ease. Fighting in Iraq, OPEC’s second-largest producer, helped pushed up prices.[O/R]
“The price of oil really helps. It was a big driver for the market. ...(Iraq)’s probably got people a little worried,” said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management, though he said he was not especially positive on oil prices over the long term.
U.S. crude CLc1 was up nearly 3 percent to $60.72, while Brent crude LCOc1 added 2.3 percent to $66.53.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE finished 130.78 points higher, or 0.87 percent, to 15,203.61.
“Stocks tend to firm up around Memorial Day weekend,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds, referring to the upcoming U.S. holiday on Monday.
“Generally the news is positive, the least path of resistance to the upside right now. On balance, the glass tends to be half full.”
Seven of the index’s 10 main groups advanced. The tech sector was the biggest loser, giving back more than 2 percent. Open Text Corp OTC.TO tumbled 13.3 percent to C$51.80 after the company gave a lower-than-expected outlook.
Shopify Inc SH.TO shares surged on their first day of trading in Toronto and New York. The Canadian e-commerce software maker priced its initial public offering at $17 a share, and the stock finished at C$31.25 in Toronto.
Other influential advancers included Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), which rose 1 percent to C$80.37. The heavily weighted financial sector climbed 0.7 percent.
“Financials have been fairly weak ... it looks like the worst is over,” Cockfield said. “In this kind of market, and you’ve got extra cash that’s earning you nothing, the banks look reasonably attractive.”
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the TSX by a 1.99-to-1 ratio on the upside.
Editing by W Simon and Leslie Adler