November 5, 2009 / 1:44 PM / 8 years ago

Positive U.S. data helps drive TSX higher

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index finished higher on Thursday as U.S. business productivity and weekly jobs data helped to lift investor confidence in the economic recovery.

<p>A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>

The figures showed third-quarter business productivity grew at the fastest pace in six years and that new claims for jobless aid fell to a 10-month low last week, indicating the decline in the labor market may be hitting bottom.

“The U.S. productivity numbers basically shot the lights out. It was a really good print,” said Lex Kerkovius, senior research analyst at McLean & Partners Wealth Management Ltd in Calgary.

Among the top Toronto gainers were Royal Bank of Canada, up 2.5 percent at C$55.58, and Toronto-Dominion Bank, which climbed 2.9 percent to C$64.80. Teck Resources was up 4.8 percent at C$33.38.

As well, Kerkovius said rosy earnings results from U.S. technology bellwether Cisco, released on Wednesday, helped to boost sentiment.

The S&P/TSX composite index ended up 109.50 points, or 0.99 percent, at 11,180.70, with all of its 10 main groups higher.

“There’s a lot of green on the screen,” said Paul Hand, managing director at RBC Capital Markets. “We’re slightly upward bias-based because the U.S. is up so much. Left to its own measures I think Toronto would be sort of flattish.”

Threatening to tug the index lower through the day were insurers Sun Life Financial Inc, down 6.5 percent at C$28.16, and Manulife Financial Corp, which retreated 3.55 percent to C$19.86. Both reported surprise losses on Thursday.

Strength in its energy and materials sectors, up 0.96 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, also helped lift the key index even though commodity prices were slightly lower. EnCana Corp rose 1.8 percent and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan climbed 1.6 percent.

The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index closed 6.85 points, or 1.04 percent, higher at 662.82.

($1=$1.07 Canadian)

Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway

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