TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed modestly higher Thursday, with mining issues leading the way even as an early rally in copper prices faded.
The S&P/TSX composite index ended the day up 21.77 points at 13,425.19, with metals and mining the leading sector, gaining 3.5 per cent on the day.
U.S. markets were closed for that country’s Thanksgiving holiday and will reopen for an abbreviated session on Friday.
In commodity markets, the January contract for benchmark U.S. crude rose 17 cents to settle at US$43.04 a barrel in electronic trading, while January natural gas fell 2.5 cents to US$2.299 per mmBtu and December gold fell $3.80 to US$1,070 an ounce.
After a big gain earlier in the day, copper settled down 0.85 of a cent at US$2.046 a pound.
Industrial metals, including copper, had jumped earlier in the day on reports that Chinese authorities are considering measures to boost prices, including cracking down on short-selling and cutting domestic output, but fell back in afternoon trading.
Prices for many commodities, including oil and copper, have fallen dramatically over the past year.
Oil is down from a peak above $110 in July 2014, while copper was trading above $3 a little more than 12 months ago.
The advance on the TSX followed bigger gains on European bourses, where London’s FTSE 100 index added nearly 0.9 per cent on the day, while France’s CAC 40 rose 1.08 per cent and Germany’s DAX rose 1.35 per cent.
Norman Raschkowan, senior partner at Sage Road Advisors, said the slide in commodities has been positive for Europe because it is a net importer of raw materials.
“Europe generally benefits from lower commodity prices, while Canada unfortunately is on the other end of that trade,” he said.
Raschkowan said traders expect the European Central Bank to continue its monetary stimulus program when it meets next week and that faith has helped the market shake off the after-effects of the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris.
The Canadian dollar rose 0.01 of a U.S. cent to end the day at 75.22 cents U.S.
Despite the slight uptick in the loonie on Thursday, Raschkowan said the continued strength of the American dollar benefits Canada, especially when it comes to companies that export to the country’s largest trading partner.
“The reality is that the weaker Canadian dollar can cover up a lot of sins,” he said, adding that it will provide support for the economy while Western Canada deals with the oil price bust.
“It will help, and it’s one of the reasons I don’t think you’ll see that weakness in the West pull the Canadian economy into a recession,” he said.