Toronto stocks gained again on Thursday and finished at their highest level in more than three months. Markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good Friday holiday.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index jumped 217.84 points or 2.43% to 9,187.12. Toronto's main index posted its best close since Jan. 8.
Mining stocks rallied another 7.9% on Thursday, adding to recent gains. Teck Cominco (TCK.B.TO) surged 11.5%, adding to the nearly 10% rally yesterday that came after the copper and zinc miner announced it sold 5.6 million shares of Kinross (K.TO) for about $101 million. FNX Mining (FNX.TO) rallied 9.1% and Thompson Creek (TCM.TO) added 8.5%.
Financials gained 5.7% as a strong preliminary first-quarter results from U.S. lender Wells Fargo boosted banking stocks around the globe. Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) rallied 5.25%, CIBC (CM.TO) added 4.6%, Royal Bank (RY.TO) gained 4.3% and Scotiabank (BNS.TO) climbed 4%.
Wells Fargo said it now expects to report first quarter earnings of $3 billion or $0.55 per share compared to analyst estimates of $0.23 per share.
Energy stocks added 3.3% as crude oil rallied above $52 on the NYMEX. Ensign (ESI.TO) surged 7.3%, Calfrac Well Services (CFW.TO) added 6.5% and Petrocan (PCA.TO) gained 5.7%.
Light sweet crude oil for May settlement soared to $52.17 per barrel, up $2.79 for the session.
In corporate news, Cardiome Pharma Corp. (COM.TO) soared 23.6% after the company reached a collaboration and license agreement with Merck & (MRK) to develop and market vernakalant, an investigational candidate for the treatment of atrial fibrillation.
Quebecor World (IQW.TO) surged 35.3% after the company said it reached agreement in principle on the key terms that will allow it to successfully emerge from creditor protection.
Canwest Global Communications Corp. (CGS.TO) slipped 1.6% after the company reported second quarter net loss of C$1.44 billion or C$8.09 per share, compared to a net loss of C$33.88 million or C$0.19 per share in the same quarter of last year.
Telus (T.TO) fell 11% after the company announced its new wireless subscribers fell by 46% in the recent quarter and the average monthly bill fell 5.6%.
Healthcare-related service provider Opmedic Group (OMG.TO) soared 26.7% after the company reported its second quarter net earnings rose to $0.27 million or $0.02 per share from $0.13 million or $0.01 per share in the previous year.
Canadian jobless rate jumped to its highest level in seven years in March, extending a trend of rising unemployment, according to data released Thursday by Statistics Canada.
Employment declined by 61,000 in March, all in full-time work. This decrease pushed the unemployment rate up 0.3 percentage points to 8.0%.
Meanwhile, Stats Canada data showed Canadian exports rose 5.2% to $33.1 billion as all sectors increased and auto makers resumed production. Meanwhile, imports increased 1.1% to $33.0 billion led by machinery and equipment. This resulted in a small trade surplus of $126 million, up from a deficit of $1.2 billion in January.
Canadian new home selling prices decreased 0.7% between January and February, compared with a 0.6% decline a month earlier, according to data released Thursday morning by Statistics Canada. This resulted in a New Housing Price Index of 155.3.
On Wednesday, Toronto's main index snapped a three-session losing skid. The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 65.80 points or 0.74% to finish at 8,890.65.
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