Toronto hits record close, while U.S. markets also gain ground; Loonie up

TORONTO — The base metals and industrial sectors helped Canada’s main stock index close at a record high Monday, while U.S. stock markets also climbed higher as technology companies and banks rose.

Stocks were up across North America following positive economic data from Canada and the U.S. last week, said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis.

“I’d say the real catalyst here is a bit of a distraction from what’s been weighing on markets recently, which has been a fear of a budding trade war, and that distraction is coming in the form of some strong and encouraging economic data.”

The labour data showed healthy job growth in both countries, while investors are also looking ahead to more positive data coming from the upcoming earnings season, said Fehr.

A potentially more trade-friendly version of Brexit from the British government also lent some help to markets, but was more of an additive to the main economic story closer to home, he said.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 80.56 points at 16,452.34, its highest close on record.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 320.11 points at 24,776.59. The S&P 500 index ended up 24.35 points at 2,784.17 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 67.81 points at 7,756.20.

The U.S. went ahead with $34 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods Friday with China retaliating with its own taxes on U.S. goods, but the move was already factored into markets and there was no further escalation over the weekend, said Fehr.

“I would say it was something that had already largely been baked into the cake.”

The Canadian dollar averaged 76.35 cents US, up 0.04 of a US cent. The loonie moved higher last week after the jobs data increased expectations of a rate hike. The Bank of Canada announces its rate decision on July 11.

The August crude contract closed up five cents at US$73.85 per barrel and the August natural gas contract ended down three cents at US$2.83 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract closed up $3.80 at US$1,259.60 an ounce and the September copper contract was up three cents at US$2.85 a pound.

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