TSX moves higher after economic data
The Toronto Stock Exchange Broadcast Centre is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
TORONTO - Investors found more reason to advance stock market gains on Tuesday, driven by some mildly encouraging data on the economy, and recent U.S. Federal Reserve comments.
Toronto's S&P/TSX composite index gained 35.63 points to 14,370.94, while the Canadian dollar traded ahead 0.14 of a cent at 90.60 cents US.
Much of the momentum was evident on U.S. markets as well, pushed by an increase in manufacturing activity last month.
The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rose to 53.7 in March, up from 53.2 in February, as factories continued to rev up following the severe winter storms earlier this year.
Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department said construction spending rose by 0.1 per cent in February, after falling by 0.2 per cent in January. That number was in line with investors' expectations.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials added 61.04 points to 16,518.70, the Nasdaq lifted 53.56 points to 4,252.55 and the S&P 500 index rose 9.54 points to 1,881.88.
New data from the Royal Bank suggested that Canadian exports are leading an improvement in domestic business conditions. The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index registered 53.3 in March, the 12th consecutive month that the PMI has indicated expansion.
"Overall investors are in a good place, or at least in a better place, now," said Allan Small, senior adviser at Holliswealth.
"The returns of last year were quite good for many investors here in Canada and in the U.S. I think it's a lot more positive now."
Small said he expects stock markets to continue on the current trajectory until U.S. and Canadian jobs figures are released on Friday.
Comments from U.S. Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen on Monday gave investors a better idea of a road map for the economy. Yellen said she thinks the struggling U.S. job market will continue to need the help of low interest rates "for some time."
Yellen had raised concerns that U.S. interest rates may begin to rise sooner than expected when she suggested last month that the Fed could start raising short-term rates six months after it halts its bond purchases. Most economists expect the quantitative easing program to end this year.
In commodities, the May crude delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped below $100 shortly before it closed, down $1.94 at US$99.64 a barrel. The TSX energy sector declined 0.2 per cent.
Two Western Canadian oil companies are preparing to combine their businesses. Surge Energy Inc. (TSX:SGY) is offering to buy Longview Oil Corp. (TSX:LNV) in a mostly stock deal that the companies value at $429 million, including assumed debt. Surge shares fell 12 cents to $6.02 while Longview gained three cents to $5.79.
May copper ended less than a penny higher at US$3.03 a pound while June bullion continued its declined for the fifth straight session. Gold was down $3.80 to US$1,280 an ounce.