Energy gains push TSX to highest close in over a year

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index notched its highest close in more than a year on Monday as energy stocks jumped with rising oil prices amid improved risk sentiment and on speculation that OPEC would seek to restrain output.

An electronic board displays the midday TSX index in Toronto February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 106.85 points, or 0.73 percent, at 14,755.62, its strongest finish since June 26, 2015.

It got as high as 14,783.16 in intra-day trade.

The most influential gainers included its biggest energy companies, with Suncor Energy Inc up 1.7 percent to C$35.64 and Canadian Natural Resources adding 1.4 percent to C$41.17.

The energy group, which accounts for almost one-fifth of the index’s weight, gained 2 percent while oil prices jumped more than 2 percent as some OPEC members reportedly sought to restrain output. Analysts warned, however, that the bearish fundamentals that had brought prices to four-month lows last week still lurked.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see oil prices fall back tomorrow,” said Allan Small, a senior investment advisor at HollisWealth, who said the Canadian market would likely lag its U.S. counterparts through the remainder of 2016.

The TSX’s rise tracked other global stock markets as risk appetite revived following strong U.S. job figures on Friday that bolstered expectations of faster growth in the world’s biggest economy.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 1.1 percent.

Teck Resources gained 2.6 percent to C$21.47 and First Quantum Minerals added 3.9 percent to C$11.92, while fertilizer company Potash Corp gained 2.3 percent to C$21.56.

Nine of the index’s 10 main groups ended in positive territory, with only utilities slipping, while advancers outnumbered decliners by a 2.6-to-1 ratio.

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc surged 45.7 percent to C$36.63 after Vail Resorts Inc said it would buy the operator of the Canadian ski resort for about C$1.39 billion ($1.06 billion).

The value of Canadian building permits unexpectedly sank in June, hurt by a drop in construction intentions for apartment and condominium buildings in Ontario and British Columbia, data from Statistics Canada showed on Monday.

Canadian data on Friday showed the domestic economy shed jobs and the country’s trade deficit widened to a record.

“It gives me cause for concern,” HollisWealth’s Small said. “But the economy and the stock market are two different things.”

Editing by Bill Trott and James Dalgleish