Toronto – Canada’s main stock index closed higher Monday on the strength of the base metals, financials and materials sectors as well as oil, which settled above the US$50 mark for the first time in more than two months.
The S&P/TSX composite index squeezed out a gain of 15.22 points to 15,143.87. However, it marked the third consecutive monthly decline for the market, which remains below what it was at the beginning of the year.
Oil was a bright spot, with the September crude contract gaining 46 cents to US$50.17 per barrel. It last settled above the US$50 mark May 24 at US$51.36 a barrel.
The price jump comes as global stockpiles have started to get drawn down, said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 60.81 points to 21,891.12 – its fourth consecutive day of hitting a record high. The Nasdaq composite index declined 26.56 points to 6,348.12, dragged down by recent underwhelming results from some technology firms, and the S&P 500 index shed 1.80 points to 2,470.30.
Fehr said traders are in somewhat of a wait-and-see mode ahead of economic data releases later this week on both sides of the border, including the July employment figures to be released Friday.
The Canadian dollar remained above the 80-cent US mark, trading at an average price of 80.10 cents U.S., though that was down 0.24 of a cent. The loonie has enjoyed some lift since the Bank of Canada rose its key benchmark interest rate nearly three weeks ago, its first hike in close to seven years.
Elsewhere in commodities, the December gold contract fell US$1.90 to US$1,273.40 an ounce, the September copper contract climbed about 1.7 cents to US$2.89 a pound and the September natural gas contract lost 14.7 cents to US$2.79 per mmBTU.