Canadian stocks perk up as crude hits 6-month highs

GMT 04:31 2016 Tuesday ,17 May

Arab Today, arab today Canadian stocks perk up as crude hits 6-month highs

Canada's main stock market in Toronto
Toronto - XINHUA

Canada's main stock market in Toronto jumped to a fresh two-week high on Monday, led by major resources stocks as commodity prices rallied while crude oil prices hit new highs in months.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index gained 144.91 point, or 1.05 percent, to close at 13,893.49 points. All of the TSX index's eight main sub-sectors were higher.

Oil prices jumped more than 3 percent to their highest since November 2015 on the back of more disruption to supplies and after long-time bear Goldman Sachs said it was more positive about the market.

The West Texas Intermediate for June delivery moved up 1.51 U.S. dollars to settle at 47.72 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for July delivery increased 1.14 dollars to close at 48.97 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Crude futures have rallied for most of the past two weeks from a combination of Nigerian, Venezuelan and other outages, declining U.S. production and virtually frozen inflows of Canadian crude after wildfires in Alberta's oil sands region.

The disruptions triggered a U-turn in the outlook for the oil market from Goldman Sachs, which had long warned of global storage hitting capacity and of another oil price crash to as low as 20 U.S. dollars per barrel.

Taking a ride on oil surge, TSX energy and mining sectors popped up 2.93 percent and 3.60 percent respectively. The most influential movers on the index included Teck Resources, up 6.23 percent to 12.95 Canadian dollars (10.04 U.S. dollars), and Athabasca Oil Corporation, up 9.92 percent to 1.33 Canadian dollars.

Barrick Gold advanced 2.31 percent to 24.41 Canadian dollars, and Goldcorp rose 2.58 percent to 23.85 Canadian dollars.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. fell 3.84 percent to 34.85 Canadian dollars after it said would cut prices for hospitals on two heart drugs after shareholder William Ackman pledged to revisit controversial price hikes on the treatments.

Penn West Petroleum Ltd. dived 21.90 percent to 82 Canadian cents a share after the Canadian oil and gas producer said Monday it may default on its financial covenants at the end of the second quarter and raised doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern.

On the economic beat, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported national home sales in April 2016 rose to their highest level ever, with sales hiking by 3.1 percent from March to April. Actual (not seasonally-adjusted) activity was up 10.3 percent compared to April 2015.

Canada's housing market has boomed since 2009, driven mostly by tight supply in Toronto and Vancouver. While some markets have cooled, annual price gains continue to hit double-digits on a national basis, well above the rate of inflation, and concern about a possible housing bubble remains.

"National home sales set new monthly records over the past two months, even as activity in Greater Vancouver and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) appears to have topped out," CREA President Cliff Iverson said in the report.

In a research published on Monday, the Bank of Canada said few major countries have made significant changes to their inflation-targeting regimes in recent years since 2012.

The central bank is studying whether to alter its own monetary policy framework. It is reviewing the appropriate level for the inflation target, which has remained at the 2 percent midpoint since 1995.

The central bank's main policy goal is to keep annual inflation at the midpoint of a 1 percent to 3 percent range, a target set jointly with the Canadian government every half decade. The latest renewal is due later this year.

The Canadian dollar traded higher at 0.7754 U.S. dollar, compared with Friday's closing rate of 0.7731 U.S. dollar.

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