(Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index inched higher on Thursday, helped by gains in energy stocks on higher oil prices, while a jump in monthly exports and a record pace of U.S. jobs growth also bolstered sentiment.
The U.S. economy created jobs at a record clip in June as more restaurants and bars resumed operations, further evidence that the COVID-19 recession was probably over, though a surge in cases of the coronavirus threatens the fledgling recovery.
Meanwhile, oil prices gained as a sharp drop in oil stockpiles outweighed concerns that the spike in infections and new lockdown measures in California could stall recovery in fuel demand.
* At 9:37 a.m. ET (13:37 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 249.62 points, or 1.61%, at 15,764.84.
* The energy sector climbed 1.7% as U.S. crude prices were up 1.1% a barrel, while Brent crude added 1.3%. [O/R]
* Canada’s exports rose in May as auto industry production resumed and on higher crude prices, though imports fell on supply challenges tied to the gradual reopening of countries from COVID-19 closures, Statistic Canada said on Thursday.
* The financials sector gained 1.4%. The industrials sector rose 0.9%.
* The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.5% as gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,771.1 an ounce. [GOL/]
* On the TSX, 178 issues were higher, while 43 issues declined for a 4.14-to-1 ratio favouring gainers, with 14.53 million shares traded.
* The TSX posted six new 52-week highs and no new lows.
* Across all Canadian issues there were 39 new 52-week highs and four new lows, with total volume of 36.30 million shares.
Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.