TSX closes higher as trade war fears recede

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index closed higher in its first positive session in five, as investors interpreted U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as a negotiating tactic to get a better deal on NAFTA talks.

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

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended the day 156.69 points, or 1 percent, higher at 15,541.28, reversing early losses.

Trump tweeted on Monday that Canada and Mexico could be exempt from the tariffs if a “new & fair” North American Free Trade Agreement is signed. Representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico are meeting in Mexico City on Monday to wrap up the latest round of discussions on the trade agreement. Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan urged the Trump administration not to move forward on the tariffs, citing risks to the economy, after Trump’s threats led to warnings about retaliatory moves from trading partners.

All 10 sectors on the TSX index ended the day in positive territory.

The biggest gainer was Crew Energy Inc, which recovered from an all-time low hit on March 1 to close up 17.3 percent, after reporting increases in its adjusted funds flow and production.

Marijuana producer Canopy Growth Corp was the second-biggest gainer, rising 11.7 percent.

The healthcare group was the best-performing sector, with a 5.7 percent jump.

Energy-related companies Baytex Energy Corp, Trican Well Service Ltd and Ensign Energy Services Inc were also among the 10 biggest gainers, rising 10.2 percent, 7.5 percent and 7.2 percent respectively.

U.S. crude futures climbed 2.2 percent to $62.58 a barrel. The energy group was the second-biggest gainer on the TSX, advancing 1.8 percent.

Interfor Corp was the biggest decliner, with a 3.9 percent loss, followed by Corus Entertainment Inc, which fell 3.5 percent.

The consumer non-cyclicals group, which was little changed, was the worst performing sector.

Canopy Growth and Bombardier Inc were the most active stocks by volume on the index.

The TSX had 190 advancing issues and 59 declining ones. One was flat.

Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Susan Thomas and Lisa Shumaker