TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed higher Friday, helped by energy and mining stocks, while U.S. markets gave back a bit of the enthusiastic gains of recent sessions.
The S&P/TSX composite was up 30.12 points at 12,830.03, while the TSX Venture Exchange rose 4.54 points to 1,116.61.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.29 of a cent at 98.11 cents US, backing off a three-week high of 98.22 reached in the morning.
After eight record high sessions and 10 consecutive days of gains, the Dow industrials gave back some of that on mixed economic data, dropping 25.03 points to 14,514.11.
The Nasdaq was down 9.86 points at 3,249.07 and the S&P 500 index slid 2.53 points to 1,560.70.
“The U.S. drive has been pretty relentless. Sooner or later, you’re going to have a down day,” said Colin Cieszynski, market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.
“You’re at a point where some people are just looking for any excuse to take profits because we’ve had such a run the last few days.”
In commodities, the April crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange added 42 cents to close at US$93.45 a barrel, as the TSX energy sector gained 1.1 per cent.
Telecom stocks ran up 0.4 per cent with BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) ahead three cents to $46.74.
The financial sector was also higher, rising 0.1 per cent, as Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) said its fund management joint venture with the Bank of Beijing has received regulatory approval for a license to operate in China. Its shares were up 33 cents to $60.33.
Royal Bank (TSX:RY) shares rose 16 cents to $61.43, while Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) was up five cents to $15.48.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reported that home and condo resales fell 2.1 per cent in February from the previous month, when they logged a small gain. On a year-over-year basis, last month’s activity was down 15.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. a spike in gasoline prices drove up expenses in February. The Labour Department says consumer prices increased a seasonally adjusted 0.7 per cent last month from January, the biggest rise since June 2009. Three-fourths of the increase reflected a 9.1 per cent surge in gas prices.
The concern about inflation pushed gold prices higher with April bullion gaining $1.90 to US$1,592.60 an ounce.
May copper lost two cents to US$3.52 to pound.
Production at U.S. factories rose last month, weighted heavily in autos and automotive parts. The Federal Reserve said factory output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 per cent month over month in February after having fallen 0.3 per cent in January.
In European economic developments, a summit of the 27 European Union leaders in Brussels failed to deliver any fundamental change in economic strategy though there was more talk of the need to promote growth rather than just cut debt.