A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

S&P/TSX composite hits record high close on economic news; energy shares slide

S&P/TSX composite hits record high close on economic news; energy shares slide

TORONTO — Strong economic news from south of the border and optimism about the end of the pandemic drove Canada’s main stock index to a record close in post-Easter trading on Monday, despite lower oil prices.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 36.47 points at 19,026.79 after setting a new intraday high of 19,064.88.

The U.S. government reported on Friday that employers went on a hiring spree in March, adding 916,000 jobs, the most since August.

Trader reaction was delayed until Monday because markets were closed for Good Friday. Investors were then further encouraged by a report Monday showing that the services sector in the U.S. had record growth in March as orders, hiring and prices surged.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 373.98 points at 33,527.19. The S&P 500 index was up 58.04 points at 4,077.91, and the Nasdaq composite was up 225.49 points at 13,705.59.

“All this is positive, the market likes it, we’re seeing a recovery. The reopening train is still moving forward and that’s why the markets are higher today,” said Allan Small, senior investment adviser at IA Private Wealth, in an interview.

“Overall, the data’s looking really promising. They’re having to hire back a lot of people a lot sooner than I think these companies actually anticipated and I believe we’re also going to see this in our country.”

He pointed out Delta Air Lines cancelled about 100 flights Sunday due to staff shortages amid higher than expected bookings and predicted Canadian airlines will eventually also see a faster than expected recovery due to pent-up demand.

In Toronto, seven of 11 sectors closed higher, led by materials sector members that mine copper or produce forest products.

The May copper contract was up 15 cents at nearly US$4.14 a pound, fuelling a 5.96 per cent increase in the shares of Era Copper Corp. and a 5.89 per cent lift for First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

Meanwhile forest product companies Canfor Corp. and Interfor Corp. rose on recent record high lumber and panel product prices to post increases of 3.65 per cent and 3.33 per cent, respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum was the energy sector, where companies followed the May crude oil contract down US$2.80 at US$58.65 per barrel and the May natural gas contract down almost 13 cents at US$2.51 per mmBTU.

Vermilion Energy Inc. closed down 5.81 per cent and Crescent Point Energy Corp. shares lost 5.31 per cent as the sector slumped by 2.46 per cent.

The strength of technology companies has been a welcome surprise, Small said, as the information technology sector eked out a small gain in Toronto, led by an 8.17 per cent gain by BlackBerry Ltd. and a 4.24 per cent rise in Tecsys Inc.

Technology powered much of the U.S. rally Monday, too, with the S&P 500 up 1.4 per cent at an all-time high after closing above the 4,000-point mark for the first time last Thursday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also at a record high.

“Seeing tech rebound as hard as it has is quite promising,” said Small.

He said he thinks the strength in stock markets will continue as more of the population is vaccinated, allowing more of the economy to reopen, although enthusiasm may wane in the second half of 2021 as life returns to normal and central banks and governments consider how to pay for their pandemic relief.

The Canadian dollar traded for 79.84 cents US on Monday compared with 79.59 cents US on Thursday.

The June gold contract was up 40 cents US at US$1,728.80 an ounce.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2021.


Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read