Financial and energy stocks saw notable strength on Friday, leading Toronto's main index to its seventh daily gain in eight sessions. The index posted its best close since January 6.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index added 94.28 points or 1.00% to end at 9,437.65. Overall, the market has been trending higher for about six weeks.
Financials gained 2.1% after Citigroup (C) reported better-than-expected first quarter results. Among National Bank (NA.TO) added 4.1% and CIBC (CM.TO) surged 4.05% to lead Canada's big six banks higher.
Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO) added 1.9% after the company said that it expects to record a goodwill impairment charge of about US$850 million for the second quarter, reflecting the impact of prolonged challenging economic conditions that have affected its International Banking reporting unit.
Industrial stocks posted a 2% rise. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) surged 6.9%, while rival Canadian National Railway (CNR.TO) added 2.25%.
Energy stocks added 1.6% rise as crude oil closed up 35 cents to $50.33. Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) rallied 3.1%, Baytex Energy Trust (BTE.UN.TO) added 2.6% and Encana (ECA.TO) and Suncor (SU.TO) both added 2%.
In corporate news, UTS Energy (UTS.TO) ended flat after the company said its board rejected a sweetened takeover offer from Total S.A. of C$1.75 per share, indicating that the offer was inadequate.
On the downside, gold stocks lost 3% and materials stocks fell 1.75% as the precious metal continued its downward move on the Comex. Eldorado (ELD.TO) dropped 4.6%, New Gold (NGD.TO) fell 4.1%, Goldcorp (G.TO) dropped 4% and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM.TO) rose 3.65%.
In other corporate news, FNX Mining (FNX.TO) lost 3.9% after the company said that it is considering several possible production alternatives for its Sudbury mining operations as Vale Inco decided to extend its planned three week scheduled maintenance shut down in May by an addition eight weeks to July 27.
Tundra Semiconductor Corp. (TUN.TO) soared 13.9% after Gennum (GND.TO) increased the aggregate purchase price for the company from approximately C$86 million to about C$112 million. Gennum stock dropped 9.4% on the news.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported consumer prices rose 1.2% in March, down from the 1.4% increase in February. The upward pressure on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came primarily from two sources: higher food and shelter costs.
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