TSX hits five-month high; banks, industrials lead gains

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index on Wednesday notched its highest close since November as financial and industrial shares rallied on surprisingly upbeat China trade data and unexpectedly strong earnings from U.S. bank JPMorgan.

A man walks past an old Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) sign in Toronto, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

“It’s not the apocalypse, it’s not doom and gloom,” said Barry Schwartz, a portfolio manager at Baskin Financial Services. “And if it’s not doom and gloom you can come out of the bunker and the first thing you do is take a sigh of relief and then you want to make money.”

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE ended up 89.93 points, or 0.66 percent, at 13,671.35. It last closed above that level on Nov. 3.

The most influential movers in the index included Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, which rose 1.4 percent to C$76.77, and Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO, which advanced 1.8 percent to C$63.65.

Schwartz said Canadian bank stocks could rise further, given that the sector’s valuation has fallen sharply even though earnings rose about 6 percent last year.

Financial shares gained 1.2 percent, while industrials rose 2.4 percent and consumer discretionary stocks were up 1 percent.

“If oil continues to rally and the Canadian economy continues to benefit from improving U.S. data and Asian data, from China and overseas, then of course the TSX is dramatically undervalued,” Schwartz added.

Oil prices jumped to a more than four-month high on Tuesday on hopes major producers could reach a deal to curb output. Prices slipped on Wednesday after comments from Russia’s energy minister reignited doubts that the producers would reach a deal in a meeting scheduled for Sunday in Doha.

China’s exports in March returned to growth for the first time in nine months, adding to further signs of stabilization in the world’s second-largest economy.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd CP.TO jumped 4.3 percent to C$191.81, adding to gains since the company walked away from a hostile bid for a rival on Monday.

Canada’s heavyweight energy group ended slightly lower as oil prices pared recent sharp gains.

Brent crude LCOc1 settled down 51 cents at $44.18 per barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 settled down 41 cents at $41.76.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.7 percent.

Goldcorp Inc G.TO fell 2.3 percent to C$22.13 and Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO lost 1.5 percent at C$20.56 as gold XAU= slipped.

Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Richard Chang