TSX rises to new 2016 high as commodities rally

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index rose to a new high for 2016 on Friday, scoring a 3.2 percent weekly gain as resource stocks tracked commodity prices higher and after data showed a better-than-expected U.S. jobs gain and record Canadian exports.

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

Energy stocks climbed nearly 3 percent, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.2 percent after some gains were pared.

Resource stocks are “on fire” after the stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data, said Julie Brough, vice president at Morgan Meighen & Associates.

Some of the stocks were so “wiped out” it takes very little positive news to give them a boost, she added.

The most influential movers on the index included Canadian Natural Resources Ltd CNQ.TO, which rose 4.7 percent to C$34.40, while Enbridge Inc ENB.TO added 3.4 percent to C$48.91.

U.S. crude CLc1 prices settled nearly 4 percent higher at $35.92 a barrel.

Goldcorp Inc G.TO rose 0.7 percent to C$20.17 after the price of gold XAU= reached a 13-month high in a seesaw session before ending near flat. [GOL/]

Copper prices CMCU3 climbed to their highest in four months together with broader strength for industrial metals. [MET/L]

Shares of Shaw Communications Inc SJRb.TO advanced 0.9 percent to C$23.43. Ontario's securities regulator is weighing whether a deal to sell its media assets to related entity Corus Entertainment Inc CJRb.TO requires further study.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 88.85 points, or 0.68 percent, at 13,212.5. Seven of the index's 10 main groups ended higher.

It was the seventh straight winning session for the index, while it touched its highest since Dec. 29 at 13,281.83.

The index had hit an almost 3-1/2-year low in January at 11,531.22.

It “overshot on the downside” as investors worried about a global recession, said Brough. “We are having a period where growth is slow, which is a big difference than having a contraction.”

Industrials rose 1.4 percent, while the financials group was up 0.6 percent.

The sectors that dragged on the index were healthcare, information technology and consumer staples, which is seen as a defensive sector.

The shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO fell 6.1 percent to C$81.64, while Constellation Software Inc CSU.TO was down 5.1 percent at $530.78.

Canada posted a smaller-than-expected trade deficit in January. Exports reached a record C$46.0 billion, while export volumes surged 3.6 percent.

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and James Dalgleish