(RTTNews.com) - Canadian stocks ended sharply higher on Friday, led by strong gains in the energy sector as crude prices continued to move higher on supply disruption fears amid the conflict in Iraq. Investors largely ignored some soft economic indicators from both the U.S. and Canada.
In Iraq, the Sunni majority jihadists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are reported to have advanced into Diyala province in the east which is close to the Iranian border. Meanwhile, reports say hundreds have been killed in the fighting as the ISIS took control of Mosul and Tikrit.
The ISIS militants are reportedly pushing toward Baghdad, even as Kurdish forces in the north took control of Kirkuk in an attempt to keep out the jihadists.
Investors largely ignored some soft economic news from the U.S. with a Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan report showing an unexpected deterioration in consumer sentiment in June. Meanwhile, producer prices in May dropped unexpectedly on a notable decline in prices for trade services.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed Friday at 15,001.61, up 91.98 points or 0.62 percent. The index scaled an intraday high of 15,017.19 and a low of 14,904.68. This is just below its all-time high of 15,073.13 in June 2008
Crude oil was up over concerns about possible supply disruptions from the Middle East due to escalating tension in Iraq and the drop in U.S. oil stockpiles.
The Energy Index jumped 2.04 percent, with U.S. crude oil futures for July delivery, the most actively traded contract, gaining $0.38 or 0.4 percent to close at $106.91 a barrel Friday on the Nymex.
Among energy stocks, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ.TO) gained 1.98 percent, Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) added 2.31 percent, and Suncor Energy Inc.(SU.TO) added 2.00 percent. Enbridge Inc. (ENB.TO) added 0.57 percent and Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE:TO) gained 2.12 percent.
The Financial Index gained 0.21 percent with Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) adding 0.72 percent, Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) up 0.12 percent, Toronto-Dominion Bank down 0.50 percent, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) up 0.28 percent.
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) added 0.17 percent after announcing the close of a transaction to acquire 40% of Aurion Capital Management shares.
The Capped Healthcare Index shed 0.51 percent with Catamaran Corp. (CCT.TO) slipping 0.17 percent, Extendicare Inc. (EXE.TO) down 28 percent, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (VRX.TO) surrendered 1.17 percent.
The Global Gold Index moved up 0.65 percent, with gold futures for August delivery inching up $0.10 to close at $1,274.10 an ounce Friday on the Nymex.
Among gold stocks, B2Gold Corp. (BTO.TO) shed 3.40 percent, Yamana Gold Inc. (YRI.TO) added 2.74 percent, Osisko Mining Corp. (OSK.TO) gained 0.70 percent, Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX.TO) was up 1.54 percent, and Kinross Gold Corp. (K.TO) dropped 0.22 percent.
The Capped Materials Index gained 0.56 percent, with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) edging up 0.03 percent.
The Diversified Metals & Mining Index gathered 0.61 percent, with Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) up 0.72 percent, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) up 0.56 percent, and Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) gained 0.43 percent.
The Information Technology Index dropped 0.13 percent, with BlackBerry Limited (BB.TO) down 2.72 percent and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) up 0.15 percent.
The Capped Industrials Index added 0.81 percent, with Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) adding 2.61 percent and Air Canada (AC.B) climbing 3.65 percent.
Amaya Gaming Group Inc. (AYA.TO) soared 45.05 percent after the company agreed to buy Rational Group, Owner of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, for $4.9 billion in an all-cash transaction.
Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) jumped 2.31 percent, after reports indicated Apollo Global Management to be in talks to buy Encana Corp.'s (ECA.TO) Bighorn properties in Alberta.
Crocotta Energy Inc. (CTA.TO) gained 5.76 percent after agreeing to be acquired by Long Run Exploration Ltd. (LRE.TO) in a transaction valued at about $357 million, including debt, the two companies said Thursday. Long Run Exploration dropped 2.13 percent.
Crescent Point Energy Corp. (CPG.TO) climbed 3.07 percent after the company agreed to acquire assets in Saskatchewan for cash and stock worth about C$334 million.
Pilot Gold Inc. (PLG.TO) plummeted 7.98 percent after the company agreed to acquire Cadillac Mining Corp. (CQX.V), by way of a court-approved plan of arrangement.
Centerra Gold Inc.(CG.TO) added 3.94 percent following an announcement from the company that it will not shut down its Kumtor gold mining operations in the Kyrgyz Republic, as it has received the necessary government approvals and permits for its 2014 mine plan.
On the economic front, manufacturing sales in Canada declined unexpectedly by a seasonally adjusted -0.1 percent in May, from 0.3 percent in the previous month.
In economic news from the U.S., a report from the Labor Department showed producer prices for trade services showed an unexpected 0.2 percent decrease in May, after climbing 0.6 percent in April. Economists expected prices to inch up by 0.1 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, core producer prices edged down by 0.1 percent in May following a 0.5 percent increase in April. Economists had expected core prices to tick up by 0.1 percent.
A Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan report on Friday showed U.S. consumer sentiment in June deterioration unexpected with a preliminary reading coming in at 81.2 compared to the final May reading of 81.9. Economists expected the index to climb to a reading of 83.0.
The decrease was due partly to a drop in the gauge of consumer expectations, which dropped to 72.2 in June from 73.7 in May. The report also showed the barometer of current economic conditions to have inched up to 95.4 in June from 94.5 in the previous month.
Meanwhile, China's industrial production and retail sales growth accelerated in May, a sign the economy is well on its way to recovery. Industrial production grew at a pace of 8.8 percent year-on-year in May, following April's 8.7 percent increase, a report from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday. This was in line with economists' expectations.
China's Retail sales advanced by a more-than-expected 12.5 percent annually in May, faster than the 11.9 percent rise seen a month ago. Sales were expected to rise by 12.1 percent.
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