North American stock markets, loonie continue resurgence after 'Brexit' vote

TORONTO – Fears over a British exit from the European Union continued to ease among investors Wednesday as stock markets and commodity prices advanced for a second straight day.

The S&P/TSX composite index in Toronto soared 194.05 points to 14,036.74, and has now recovered close to 80 per cent of the 440 points it lost in the two-day rout that followed last Thursday’s referendum.

The Canadian dollar was also higher for a second session, up 0.35 of a U.S. cent at 77.07 cents US. Despite the gains, the loonie is still down 1.23 US cents compared to its value prior to the so-called Brexit vote.

Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investments, said he is surprised at how quickly the markets have turned around but he thinks it will be short-lived.

“What we’ll see is a rebound but then we’ll see markets come back down again,” said Adatia, adding that the negative effects from Britain’s vote and the consequences that flow from it will take time to be fully felt.

The implications can also mean more instability in the 19-country eurozone as other countries consider a similar move.

“Brexit opens the door for other political parties in the eurozone to propose the same scenario,” he said. “It could cause more disruptions to the eurozone and hurt global confidence as well.”

In New York, indexes were also higher, helped by positive news on consumer spending and a big acquisition by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM).

The Dow Jones industrials gained 284.96 points to 17,694.68, while the broader S&P 500 added 34.68 points to 2,070.77. The Nasdaq composite rose 87.38 points to 4,779.25.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported consumer spending increased 0.4 per cent in May on top of a 1.1 per cent surge in April. The data underscore that consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of U.S. economic activity, picked up in the spring after getting off to a slow start this year.

In corporate news, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM) agreed to buy U.S. bank holding company PrivateBancorp (Nasdaq:PVTB) for US$47 per share in cash and stock or about US$3.73 billion.

Overseas, Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 3.58 per cent, while Germany’s DAX rose 1.75 per cent and France’s CAC 40 gained 2.6 per cent.

In commodities, oil prices continued to recover, with the August contract for benchmark North American crude adding $2.03 to US$49.88 a barrel.

August natural gas shed three cents to US$2.86 per mmBtu, while August gold bullion rose $9 to US$1,326.90 a troy ounce and September copper rose a penny to US$2.19 a pound.

— With files from The Associated Press

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