TSX Rises To 7-month High, Extends Winning Streak To 5th Session

(RTTNews) - Buoyed by strong jobs data and higher crude oil prices, the Canadian stock market ended on a firm note on Friday, extending gains to a fifth successive session.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 84.54 points, or 0.52%, at 16,396.15, its best close in seven months. The index scaled a low of 16,330.18 and a high of 16,396.15 in the session.

On Thursday, the TSX ended up 31.75 points, or 0.2%, at 16,311.61. The index gained 1.82% in the week.

According to a report from Statistics Canada, the economy shed 7,200 positions in March after have gained in the first two months of 2019. Still, the first quarter of the year saw the strongest increase in employment since the final months of 2017, thanks to increases of 66,800 net new jobs in January and 55,900 in February.

In U.S., data from the Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment jumped by 196,000 jobs in March after edging up by a revised 33,000 jobs in February.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 180,000 jobs compared to the uptick of 20,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate held at 3.8% in March, unchanged from February and in line with economist estimates.

Energy stocks posted strong gains, tracking higher crude oil prices. The Capped Energy Index ended up 2.93%.

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) gained 3.8%, Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) advanced 3.25%, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) jumped 4.7% and Vermilion Energy (VET.TO) ended up 3.1%.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO), Imperial Oil (IMO.TO), Husky Energy (HSE.TO), Parex Resources (PXT.TO) and PrairieSky Royalty (PSK.TO) gained 1 to 2.5%.

Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) spurted 7% and Baytex Energy Corp. (BTE.TO) surged up 7.7%.

In the materials space, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) and Kinross Gold (K.TO) ended modestly higher. Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX.TO) declined 0.4%.

Bank stocks mostly settled around previous closing levels. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) posted modest gains.

The Capped Healthcare Index gained 1.34%. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained 2.8%, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) advanced 1.3%, Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) ended 1.05% up and Hexo Corp. (HEXO.TO) gained 1.3%, while CannTrust Holdings (TRST.TO) and Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, both jumped by about 3.7%.

In the information technology space, Shopify Inc. (SHOP.TO), Constellation Software (CSU.TO), Open Text Corporation (OTEX.TO), Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO) and Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO) gained 1 to 2%, while Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) ended stronger by about 3.4%.

Shares of Corus Entertainment Inc. rose more than 6%. The company reported adjusted basic earnings per share of $0.07 for the quarter ended February 2019, compared to $0.20 in the year-ago quarter.

U.S. stocks closed higher thank to strong jobs data. The major averages ended the session at their best closing levels in about six months.

The Dow edged up 0.2%, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 gained 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively.

On the trade front, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said the two sides have conducted fruitful consultations in the past two days, especially on important issues such as the text of economic and trade agreements.

European markets ended higher on trade talks hopes and upbeat U.S. jobs data.

Asian markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended up $0.98, or 1.6%, at $63.08 a barrel.

Gold futures for June ended up $1.30, or 0.1%, at $1,295.60 an ounce.

Silver futures for May ended up $0.002, at $15.086 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled lower by $0.0155, at $2.8945 per pound.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.