TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index finished more than 100 points higher on Monday as record oil prices bolstered resources and energy shares, offsetting a weak showing by financial services shares on persistent concerns about the credit crunch.
U.S. crude charged to a new high of $143.67 before settling lower, providing renewed fuel for the shares of Canada’s energy companies.
“That seems to be the culprit today for sure,” Adrian Mastracci, portfolio manager at KCM Wealth Management Inc, said of the price of crude.
“There’s not a lot of excess supply, so if anything goes offline even temporarily — bingo,” he said, adding speculators also help drive prices higher.
Overall, five of the 10 main sectors of the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE recorded gains in the session, including energy and the resource-heavy materials group, which added 1.75 percent and 1.74 percent respectively.
Oil and gas powerhouse EnCana Corp (ECA.TO) rose C$3.51, or 3.9 percent, to close at C$93.36, and Petro-Canada PCA.TO added C$1.86, or 3.4 percent, to end at C$57.11.
Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) rose C$1.94, or 2.6 percent, to finish at C$76.49.
“The gold and silver sector has been quite strong the last few days and to see it carry on into today and into the next month certainly wouldn’t surprise me,” said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.
Financials gave up 0.45 percent as concerns over the credit crunch and the health of the economy lingered.
There, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) dragged, shedding C$2.14, or 3.7 percent, to end at C$56.10.
“Historically and traditionally, it’s always been the financials that have led us out of these types of situations,” Latimer said of lingering credit worries. “Until the U.S. and Canadian financials can establish some groundwork and framework, I don’t see a lot of upside to the market in the short term.”
The S&P/TSX composite index rose 111.82 points, or 0.78 percent, to close at 14,467.03. At the half-way mark of 2008, the benchmark is up 4.6 percent.
BCE Inc (BCE.TO), Canada’s biggest telecom company, fell C$1.21, or 3.3 percent, to finish at C$35.55 on worries of further delays or a repricing of its C$34.8 billion buyout.
Trading volumes were light ahead of Tuesday’s Canada Day holiday.
In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was little changed, adding 3.50 points, or 0.03 percent, to end at 11,350.01. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 22.65 points to end at 2,292.98.
Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; Editing by Peter Galloway