TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock index ended slightly higher on Wednesday in light trading on the second last session of the year as energy and financial stocks got a boost from U.S. economic data that came in well above forecasts.
Entering the session, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 30.2 percent for the year, and with 2009 drawing to a close, investors seemed averse to taking new positions. Volume was well below average.
The S&P/TSX composite closed up 15.65 points, or 0.13 percent, at 11,717.46.
Royal Bank of Canada was one of the top index gainers of the day, up 0.4 percent to C$56.14. Bank of Nova Scotia and Toronto-Dominion Bank also made gains, up 0.6 percent to C$49.72 and 0.3 percent to C$65.40 respectively.
U.S. data showed that business activity in the U.S. Midwest was much higher than expected, hitting nearly a four-year high.
“That seems to confirm that the U.S. economy is recovering quite strongly, and that’s been enough to set off some buying among some of the financial stocks here, and some of the energy names as well,” said Elvis Picardo, analyst and strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver.
Canadian Natural Resources was the No. 1 index gainer, up 0.9 percent at C$75.99, while Suncor Energy was up 0.5 percent at C$37.56.
On the broader market, InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust, a large Canadian hotel portfolio holder, said it raised C$50 million ($47.6 million) in a debenture offering that will help it pay down debt and provide funds for general purposes. Its units ended down 1.1 percent at C$5.30.
Also, Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust said it acquired a 50 percent interest in retail properties forming part of south Edmonton Common Shopping Center for about C$39.2 million. Its units shed 2.7 percent to C$26.86.
In Ottawa, the minority Conservative government said it will suspend Parliament until early March, provoking an angry backlash from a sidelined opposition parties, but doing nothing to move markets.
Trading has been thin this week as many market players take an extended holiday break.
“At this point in time, everyone is pretty happy with the way the year has gone, given that we such a disastrous start,” Picardo said. “This is a time to basically be looking to see what to do next. I think we’ll see very little in the way of action tomorrow as well.”
Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway