TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock market rallied on Thursday and notched its biggest weekly gain in 11 years, as investors focused on a new Federal Reserve program to support the U.S. economy rather than data showing a record jobs loss for Canada.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 1.7% at 14,166.63, led by a near 10% advance in gold stocks. For the week, the TSX was up nearly 9.5%, its biggest advance since January 2009.
The index, which will close for the Good Friday holiday, has recouped about 45% of its recent plunge which could spur some investors to adjust their portfolios.
“It might draw out some rebalancing,” said Diana Avigdor, a portfolio manager and head of trading at Barometer Capital Management. “I don’t think a lot of people, especially the smaller mom and pop, had a lot of time to get out of the market and rearrange their risk tolerance as the sell-off was happening.”
Wall Street also climbed on Friday as the Fed rolled out a massive $2.3 trillion program to bolster local governments and businesses hammered by the coronavirus outbreak.
Canada’s coronavirus death toll is set to soar from the current 461 to as high as 22,000 by the end of the pandemic, health officials said, while the economy lost a record 1 million jobs last month as several provinces closed non-essential businesses.
“As long as we’re closed you can expect these numbers to continue to be this way,” Avigdor said. “The question is how long and what normalization will look like and when.”
Ottawa is rolling out more than C$200 billion in measures to support the economy, while the Bank of Canada has slashed interest rates to 0.25% and has begun quantitative easing, a program of buying government bonds on a large scale.
Gold climbed nearly $40 to about $1,685 an ounce, while the price of oil , one of Canada’s major exports, settled 9.3% lower at $22.76 a barrel. Investors doubted the emerging supply-cut agreement between members of OPEC and its allies would adequately address the collapse in global fuel demand caused by the pandemic.
The Canadian dollar strengthened 0.3% to 1.3972 per U.S. dollar, or 71.32 U.S. cents. For the week, the loonie was up 1.1%.
Canadian government bond yields fell across the curve, with the 10-year down 5.3 basis points at 0.760%.
Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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