(RTTNews) - The Canadian stock market ended on a firm note for a second successive session, as investors built up positions in several key shares on Wednesday, reacting to positive news on the coronavirus vaccine front.
After a bright start an a subsequent upmove, the market pared some gains, but stayed firm right through the session to sign off on a positive note.
Healthcare, real estate, consumer discretionary and energy stocks posted strong gains. Several shares from industrial, telecom, financial, consumer staples and utilities sections too moved higher, while information technology and materials shares were a bit subdued.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended with a gain of 154.88 points or 0.97% at 16,063.33, nearly 70 points off the day's high of 16,130.58.
Close on the heels of recent positive developments on coronavirus treatment and vaccine fronts, U.S. biotech firm Moderna has announced that its experimental vaccine for Covid-19 was safe and produced strong immune responses in all 45 patients in an ongoing early-stage human trial.
On the economic front, the Bank of Canada today left its interest rate unchanged at 0.25% and said the rate will have to stay low to provide "extraordinary monetary policy support" to help recuperate from the economic impact of COVID-19.
In its policy statement, the bank said it expects the economy to contract by 7.8% this year, driven downward by a year-over-year contraction of 14.6% in the second quarter. Annual inflation rate is pegged at 0.6% this year, rising 1.2% in 2021 and 1.7% in 2022.
BoC said its inflation target is 2% and that it will maintain the current rate until that target is achieved. The bank said its outlook is based on the assumption that there won't be a broad-based second wave of the pandemic, that lockdowns will be gradually lifted, and the pandemic will have run its course by mid-2022 thanks to a vaccine effective treatment.
Investors were also digesting data on vehicles sales for the month of May and a report on manufacturing sales.
Sales of new motor vehicles in Canada rose to about 109,000 in the month of May, from 47,168 units a month earlier, data showed.
Manufacturing sales in Canada jumped 10.7% over a month earlier to C$ 40.2 billion in May 2020, following a downwardly revised record 27.9% slump in the previous month.
Air Canada (AC.TO) shares soared nearly 14%. Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) climbed up 7.7% and Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) spurted 6%. Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO), Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) gained 4.2 to 5%.
Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), National Bank of Canada (NA.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO), TC Energy (TRP.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) ended higher by 1 to 1.7%.
U.S. stocks ended on a firm note on positive news about coronavirus vaccine. The Dow advanced 0.9%, the Nasdaq rose 0.6% and the S&P 500 climbed 0.9%.
The major European markets ended with strong gains. The U.K.'s FTSE and Germany's DAX both surged up by 1.8%, while France's CAC 40 soared by 2%.
Most of the markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended higher.
In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August ended up $0.91 or about 2.3% at $41.20 a barrel, the highest settlement since March 6.
Gold futures for August ended up $0.40 at $1,813.80 an ounce.
Silver futures for September ended higher by $0.231 at $19.761 an ounce, while Copper futures for September settled at $2.8850 per pound, down $0.0475 from previous close.
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