TORONTO — Strong U.S. corporate earnings helped push North American stock indexes higher Thursday, as markets bounced back from modest declines a day earlier.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 56.89 points to 15,935.37, with energy shares one of the few decliners amid a continuing drop in the price of oil.
The January crude contract was down 17 cents at US$55.35 per barrel — and down US$2.00 from its previous high of US$57.35 on Nov. 6.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 187.08 points to 23,458.36. The S&P 500 index advanced 21.02 points to 2,585.64 and the Nasdaq composite index added 87.08 points to a record high of 6,793.29.
Strong quarterly earnings from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Cisco Systems were the prime drivers of the Dow at the closing of markets Thursday.
Shares of Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) jumped 10.90 per cent after the retail giant reported strong third-quarter results and raised its annual profit outlook. The company said online sales continued to surge and food sales were strong as well. Its shares rose US$9.79 to US$99.62.
Meanwhile, Cisco Systems (NYSE:CSCO) leapt 5.19 per cent after the internet gear maker reported a bigger profit than analysts expected and said revenue should grow in its next quarter after two years of declines. The stock added US$1.77 to US$35.88.
“It’s a good day for investors,” said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser at Holliswealth. “Overall it’s been a broad-based rally out of the U.S. and a little spillage over to the Toronto markets, with the exception of energy.”
“Wal-Mart was a pleasant surprise, I don’t think anyone was expecting that good of a quarter. And then you’ve got Cisco, they impressed quite a bit.”
U.S. stock indexes likely also got a bump after Republicans rammed a near $1.5 trillion package overhauling corporate and personal taxes through the House on Thursday, Small added. The move edges President Donald Trump and the GOP toward their first big legislative triumph in a year in which they and their voters expected much more.
In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at 78.46 cents US, up 0.17 of a U.S. cent.
Elsewhere in commodities, the December natural gas contract dropped three cents at US$3.05 per mmBTU. The December gold contract was up 50 cents to US$1,278.20 an ounce and the December copper contract was unchanged at US$3.05 a pound.
– With files from The Associated Press.
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David Hodges, The Canadian Press