TSX notches four-month high, ends month up 2.8 percent

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index rose to a four-month high on Friday, ending the month with a 2.8 percent gain, as the heavyweight financials group climbed and BlackBerry Ltd added to strong gains posted a day earlier.

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

The index gained 3 percent in the quarter and September’s rally was the best performance for the TSX since July 2016. A rally in crude oil prices has helped boost energy shares, while financials have benefited from higher bond yields after the Bank of Canada raised interest rates for a second time and the Federal Reserve signaled it remained on track to hike again in December.

Combined, the financial and energy groups account for more than half of the Toronto market’s weight.

Some of the most influential movers on the index on Friday were the shares of banks, which tend to see improved net interest margins as bond yields rise.

“A lot of (portfolio) managers want to show that they have good exposure to areas that have worked and are paying good dividends,” said Sid Mokhtari, market technician and director, institutional equity research, at CIBC World Markets.

Royal Bank of Canada climbed 0.6 percent to C$96.54, while the overall financials group ended up 0.4 percent.

Shares of BlackBerry Ltd climbed 7.3 percent to C$13.95, building on a 12.7 percent advance on Thursday when the company reported stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.

Both RBC and CIBC on Friday raised their price targets on the stock.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 16.69 points, or 0.11 percent, at 15,634.94, its highest close since May 8.

Shares of Bombardier Inc rose 2.3 percent to C$2.26 after the company sealed a deal to sell up to 50 Q400 turboprop planes to India’s SpiceJet.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc gained 4.6 percent to C$17.88 after the company completed the sale of Inova Pharmaceuticals to Pacific Equity Partners and the Carlyle Group.

Seven of the index’s 10 main groups gained ground. Energy was one of the sectors to retreat, falling 0.4 percent.

Still, the group has rallied 15 percent since late August.

U.S. crude oil futures, which reached their highest intraday on Thursday since mid-April, settled up 11 cents at $51.67 a barrel.

Norbord Inc, which produces wood-based panels used in the construction of new homes, ended down 7.5 percent at C$47.51 after BMO cut its rating on the stock to underperform.

Domestic data showed that gross domestic product was unchanged in July, ending eight consecutive months of growth.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Shumaker