TORONTO – The Toronto stock market held onto its gains to finish the session higher on Friday ahead of the Victoria Day holiday weekend.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 80 points at 15,108.12, with growth spread across most major sectors, though the TSX declined about 0.4 per cent for the week.
The advance came after Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales jumped 2.9 per cent in March, a stronger rise than expected and the second increase in six months.
The federal agency noted the increase was driven by production of aerospace products and parts and gains in the motor vehicle industry.
The loonie fell 0.16 of a U.S. cent to 83.18 cents.
South of the border movement was tighter even though Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed to its second consecutive record close.
The S&P 500 inched up 1.63 points to 2,122.73, while the Nasdaq fell 2.51 points to 5,048.29. The Dow lifted 20.32 points to 18,272.56.
“The market is a little fatigued,” said John Stephenson, president and CEO of Stephenson & Co. Capital Management.
“We’ve had a good run, at least in the U.S., for a little while.”
On the TSX, financials were the biggest weight in advance of the Canadian bank earnings season which begins later this month. Analysts widely expect the Canadian banks to show tepid growth in the coming months as home sales demonstrate little growth in many parts of the country and energy companies cut back on borrowing.
Energy stocks moved higher, rising 0.7 per cent, even as the June crude oil contract declined for a third day, falling 19 cents to US$59.69 a barrel. Earlier in the week it had closed above US$60.
June gold made a small gain late in the session, rising 10 cents to US$1,225.30 an ounce, capping an increase of just over three per cent on the week.
“When you look across the commodities, broadly speaking, it’s kind of a mixed bag,” Stephenson said.
Power Corp. (TSX:POW) boosted its quarterly dividend to 31.13 cents per share from 29 cents, as the Montreal-based holding company reported its first-quarter financial results Friday.
Net earnings attributable to shareholders increased to $354 million or 77 cents per share in the first quarter from 242 million or 53 cents in same year-earlier period. Shares of the company climbed 20 cents to $32.65.
Canadian stock markets will be closed on Monday for the Victoria Day holiday, though New York markets will operate in a regular session.
Next week, traders will be closely watching comments from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz who will speak in Charlottetown on Tuesday. He could offer an update on the possibility the central bank could boost its inflation target. The latest inflation figures for April are scheduled for release on Friday.
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