TORONTO – Stronger commodities prices helped the Toronto stock market squeeze out a small advance on Monday.
The S&P/TSX composite index closed ahead 14.80 points to 14,957.21, with nearly all of the strength coming from resource sectors.
The Canadian dollar moved up 0.51 of a U.S. cent to 80.01 cents, as the U.S. dollar weakened against other key international currencies.
Driving the TSX advancement were higher oil, copper and gold prices.
The April gold bullion contract rose $3.10 to US$1,187.70 an ounce, while May copper advanced 2.9 cents to US$2.79 a pound, pushing the TSX metals and mining sector 3.3 per cent higher.
The energy sector gained 0.9 per cent as the May crude oil contract settled at its highest level in two weeks, rising 88 cents to US$47.45 a barrel.
“From the standpoint of a foreign investor, unfortunately the Canadian market’s recent performance reinforces the perception that (it’s) driven by-and-large by commodities and resource prices,” said Norman Rashkowan, senior partner at Sage Road Advisers.
“As a Canadian investor, what you’re seeing is a reminder of the benefits of diversification outside of Canada and investing some of your portfolio in the U.S. and global markets.”
On Wall Street, stock markets gave back some of the advances of recent sessions.
Last week, the main U.S. stock markets delivered their best week since Feb. 6, after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated it would continue with its wait-and-see approach to raising interest rates.
But on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 11.61 points to 18,116.04, while the Nasdaq slid 15.45 points to 5,010.97 and the S&P 500 index eased 3.68 points to 2,104.42.
Sales of U.S. homes were up slightly in February, though a report from the National Association of Realtors said tight inventories, affordability problems and nasty winter weather point to sluggish sales coming into March.
Existing home sales rose 1.2 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million, a slight rebound after plunging in January yet still underperforming by historical standards.
In the resource sector, Iamgold Corp. (TSX:IMG) has secured an agreement to sell its Diavik Diamond royalty stream to Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (TSX:SSL) for US$56.8 million in cash and exercisable warrants. Shares of Iamgold rose three cents to $2.69 while Sandstorm rose 13 cents to $4.16 on the TSX.
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