Canada's main stock market posted a solid advance Friday as early gains driven by strong economic data out of China that soothed fears of a protracted global growth slowdown held up through the trading session, with little other data points to chew on. The S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 81 points or 0.5% to close at 16,480. For the week, the TSX gained 0.5% and is up 14.5% for the year. U.S. markets were also strong today with the Dow Jones up 1% and the S&P 500 rising 0.7%, crossing the 2,900 point mark. The Nasdaq climbed 0.5%.
Among the TSX sectors, it was a broad-based rally, paced by energy, which gained 0.9% as crude oil gained for the day and was up 1.3% for the week. Materials were close to flat as gold ended a rollercoaster week little changed. Financials climbed 0.7%, as did tech. All of the TSX sectors ended in positive territory Friday.
Instock news energy shares were in the spotlight as heavily traded Encana (ECA.TO) was up 5%, Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) gained 4% and Baytex Energy (BTE.TO) climbed 2%.
In economic news, Canada's Teranet/National Bank HPI fell 0.3% in March after contracting 0.4% in February. The index slowed to a 1.5% y/y pace in March from the 1.9% pace in February. The further erosion in housing prices evident in this report is not surprising, as Canada's housing sector continues to cool. Monday brings the Bank of Canada's latest Business Outlook Survey. CPI and retail sales are also due next week, which will be shortened by the Good Friday holiday.
The Canadian dollar gained nearly a third of a cent Friday and was trading around US 75 cents flat.
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