North American stock markets inch closer to new highs after stronger week

North American stock markets inch closer to new highs after stronger week
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TORONTO — North American stock markets moved closer to setting new record highs after gaining some ground to cap a slightly stronger week.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 35.17 points at 16,404.49, an increase of about 27 points on the week.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 152.53 points at 26,958.06. The S&P 500 index gained 12.26 points at 3,022.55 to close the week just 5.4 points off the all-time high set in July. The Nasdaq composite was up 57.32 points at 8,243.12 or just 1.2 per cent off the high.

The markets enjoyed a muted recovery week due to many factors including better-than-expected U.S. corporate results, a near US$3 per barrel rise in crude oil prices and trade talks between the U.S. and China appearing closer to the finalization of some sections, said Les Stelmach, portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Canada.

“It was a bit of a reset the first few days of this week and it’s come back a little bit now and in the U.S. it’s been stronger,” he said in an interview.

Stelmach said the Canadian market started the week a little soft “and is now improving a little bit as we exit the week, maybe as people settle down in the post-election timeframe.”

Defensive and interest-rate sensitive sectors fell in Friday trading while the TSX’s largest sectors, including financials, energy and materials gained ground.

Health care rose 1.9 per cent while telecommunications was up 0.86 per cent, following by materials as higher gold prices pushed Yamana Gold Inc. up 7.4 per cent.

The December gold contract was up 60 cents at US$1,505.30 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 0.75 of a cent at US$2.68 a pound.

The energy sector also increased as crude oil prices climbed to the highest level in more than four weeks with Husky Energy Inc. and Encana Corp. increasing by 4.6 and 2.4 per cent respectively.

The December crude contract was up 43 cents at US$56.66 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down 0.6 of a cent at US$2.46 per mmBTU.

“It’s early days but maybe post the election markets are settling down a little bit,” Stelmach said.

He pointed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterating his support for the Trans-Mountain pipeline and one pipe transportation company saying it was moving pipe so project construction can begin.

The Canadian dollar traded for an average of 76.56 cents US compared with an average of 76.48 cents US on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:YRI, TSX:ECA, TSX:HSE,TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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