Canadian stocks closed higher for a fourth straight day Friday, led by resource issues, on some positive economic data from both the U.S. and Europe. Toronto stocks were, however, pegged down by financial issues amid lingering worries over the health of European banks, and continued concerns over the eurozone debt crisis. The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 2.6 percent for the week.
Data from the U.S. showed consumer sentiment to have improved in May, while German consumer confidence is set to remain stable in June.
Toronto's main index, the S&P/TSX, closed Friday at 11,576.47, up 10.40 points or 0.09 percent. The S&P/TSX Composite Index touched an intraday high of 11,588.29 and a low of 11,524.68.
The TSX Venture Index closed at 1,309.27, up 26.80 points or 2.09 percent. The index opened at 1,282.31 compared to its previous close of 1,282.47.
Major gainers of the S&P/TSX Index were the Health Care, Energy, Materials, and Global Gold indices. The decliners were led by the Financials Index and the Diversified Metals & Mining Index.
The Metals & Mining Index dropped 0.26 percent. Nevertheless, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.TO) was up 0.32 percent, while Teck Resources Limited (TCK.B.TO) advanced 0.19 percent. Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN.TO) edged up 0.25 percent, while Osisko Mining Corp. (OSK.TO) gathered 1.87 percent.
The Global Gold Index moved up 1.29 percent, with gold futures for June delivery gaining $11.40 or 0.7 percent to close at $1,568.90 an ounce Friday on the NYMEX.
Among gold stocks, New Gold Inc. (NGD.TO) gained 2.81 percent, Eldorado Gold Corp. (ELD.TO) moved up 0.25 percent, and Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) up 1.83 percent. Kinross Gold (K.TO) shed 1.50 percent. Goldcorp. (G.TO) gained 1.20 percent, while B2Gold (BTO.TO) jumped nearly 5 percent.
The Materials Index edged up 0.84 percent with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT.TO) shed 0.61, while Eastern Platinum Limited (ELR.TO) moved up 10.42 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures moved up Friday, with July delivery gaining $0.20 or 0.2 percent to close at $90.86 a barrel on the NYMEX.
The Energy Index moved up 0.87 percent with Suncor Energy Inc. (SU.TO) gaining 1.33 percent, while Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ.TO) gathered 0.92 percent. Encana Corp (ECA.TO) gained 1.63 percent, and Athabasca Oil Corp. (ATH.TO) moved up 1.02 percent.
Heavyweights transportation systems maker Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) gained 1.60 percent, while smartphone maker Research In Motion Limited (RIM) moved 3.28 percent.
The Financial Index slipped 1 percent, as Royal Bank (RY.TO) shed 2 percent. The bank had reported a lower second-quarter profit yesterday. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC.TO) dropped 1.23 percent, Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) edged down 0.19 percent. Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) slipped 0.88 percent, while TD Bank (TD.TO) fell 0.97 percent.
Aerospace and industrial products maker Heroux-Devtek (HRX.TO) slipped over 1 percent despite reporting improved fourth quarter net income of C$9.00 million or C$0.29 per share compared to C$8 million or C$0.26 per share, a year earlier.
Specialty food products company SunOpta Inc. (SOY.TO) gained 1.5 percent after indicating that it would sell its Canadian natural health products distribution business, operated as Purity Life Natural Health Products, to an affiliate of Banyan Capital Partners for C$14.7 million.
Metals distribution and processing company Russel Metals Inc. (RUS.TO) was down over 1 percent after it said it would acquire Alberta Industrial Metals Ltd., a metals distribution and processing service center, for $30 million.
In economic news, latest survey by the Conference Board of Canada revealed consumer confidence surging across the country. The Board said its May index shot up 5.8 points to 80.8, sharply reversing a relatively poor performance in April.
From south of the border, a report by Reuters and the University of Michigan showed the U.S. consumer sentiment index for May was upwardly revised to 79.3 from the mid-month reading of 77.8. The upward revision surprised economists, who had expected the index to come in unchanged.
From the eurozone, confidence among German consumers is set to remain stable in June, as the country's vibrant labor market and export gains shielded the economy from the turbulent economic conditions in the rest of eurozone. The consumer confidence index for June was at 5.7, unchanged from the revised reading of May. The May score was revised from 5.6 reported previously.
Nonetheless, the GfK report contradicts an Ifo Institute business confidence survey on Thursday, which points to a marked decline in business optimism amid tensions surrounding a possible Greek exit from the eurozone. Ifo observed the increasing uncertainty in the eurozone to have impacted the German economy.
by RTT Staff Writer
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