TSX nears its record high as energy, bank shares rise

By John Tilak
Reuters
Toronto Stock Exchange logo is seen in Toronto
A Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) logo is seen in Toronto November 9, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

By John Tilak

TORONTO(Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose to within 80 points of its record high on Monday as positive investor sentiment spurred gains in its heavyweight financial and energy sectors.

Energy shares benefited as increasing violence in Iraq pushed up the price of Brent crude oil. The energy group has recorded the biggest gain of any major index sector in 2014.

Sunni insurgents seized a mainly ethnic Turkmen city in northwestern Iraq on Sunday after heavy fighting.

The Toronto stock market's benchmark index, which has climbed in 11 of the past 12 sessions, is up more than 10 percent this year.

“The TSX is flying," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver. “The global economy is on a firmer footing, and there’s no huge macroeconomic risk on the horizon.”

“It's a broad-based advance that bodes well for future gains," he added.

The market also awaited U.S. Federal Reserve comments on the direction of its bond-buying program and the prospect of rising interest rates after it holds a policy meeting on Wednesday.

The central bank will continue to monitor the market carefully and stay the course with its current plan of winding down its monetary stimulus program, said Gavin Graham, chief strategy officer at Integris Pension Management Corp.

“You're going to see the Fed saying that they’re going to stick to what they're doing,” he said.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 38.82 points, or 0.26 percent, at 15,040.43. It earlier hit 15,075.70, its highest level since June 18, 2008. The index's record high is 15,154.77, reached on June 6 of that year.

All of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher on Monday.

With the price of Brent crude oil hovering around $113 a barrel, shares of energy producers climbed. Suncor Energy Inc SU.TO gained 0.9 percent to C$46.75, and Enbridge Inc ENB.TO rose 0.9 percent to C$51.51.

Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, added 0.2 percent, with Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO advancing 0.8 percent to C$71.07, and Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO gaining 0.3 percent to C$54.33.

(Editing by W Simon; and Peter Galloway)