TSX barely adds to near 16-month peak

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index inched higher on Thursday after hitting a near 16-month peak the previous day, as modest gains in heavyweight gold mining and banking stocks helped offset weakness among consumer and industrial names.

A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The energy sector also provided a lift, despite oil prices falling on the day, as investors bid up some shares in light of a broader push higher for crude.

“This is a fairly important change with the price of oil through $50 (a barrel) and looking like it’s probably going to hold,” said Paul Taylor, an investment strategist for BMO Harris Private Banking.

Suncor Energy Inc was among the most influential gainers, up 1 percent to C$38.77.

Altagas Ltd advanced 4.3 percent to C$34.96 after posting strong quarterly earnings.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 7.43 points, or 0.05 percent, at 14,847.92. It has not closed that high since June 25, 2015.

Goldcorp Inc gained 1.2 percent to C$20.35 and Kinross Gold Corp added 3 percent to C$5.18, even as gold prices eased after three days of gains. [GOL/]

BMO’s Taylor said money is starting to move out of sectors such as utilities and telecoms, while fears about the health of the Canadian economy weigh on consumer names.

The Bank of Canada cut its growth forecast on Wednesday and said it actively discussed adding more monetary stimulus to speed up the nation’s economic recovery.

“There is still a lot of concern at the overall pace of growth as we go forward, and we still have some structural issues here in Canada and the consumer is heavily implicated,” Taylor said.

Gildan Activewear Inc lost 2.5 percent to C$34.64 after a bank cut its target price on the company’s stock.

Half of the index’s 10 main sectors rose, with the financials group gaining 0.2 percent. The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, rose 0.5 percent.

Toronto-Dominion Bank rose 0.5 percent to C$59.37 and Royal Bank of Canada was up 0.3 percent at C$83.93.

Editing by W Simon and Tom Brown