TSX, Wall Street markets rally; Canadian dollar sheds half a cent on lower oil

TORONTO – North American stock markets closed higher Monday, with Canada’s main index up 100 points and the S&P 500 in New York hitting its highest level ever thanks to reassuring economic signs from the U.S. and overseas.

The S&P/TSX composite index in Toronto soared by 102.04 points to 14,361.88, lifted by gains in the metals and mining and financial sectors.

On Wall Street, the broader S&P 500 composite index inched up 7.26 points to 2,137.16 while the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 80.19 points to 18,226.93. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gained 31.88 points to 4,988.64.

Stock markets have been enthused since Friday following a stronger-than-expected June jobs report from the U.S. after two months of disappointing data.

Canadian markets strategist Craig Fehr said last week’s employment report not only shows that the U.S. economy is growing, but may be enough to push the Federal Reserve into hiking interest rates at least once before the end of this year.

It also indicates that the U.S. economy is still able to strengthen despite a number of major global events recently — notably the Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

“It shows that the U.S. does have a solid foundation for growth and that many of these global uncertainties didn’t derail the economy from that path,” said Fehr, who works for Edward Jones in St. Louis.

Traders were also buoyed after the ruling party in Japan was re-elected on Sunday, a sign of continued stability and likely more stimulus for the world’s third-largest economy.

Meanwhile, in the U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May was elected Conservative party leader and named as the successor for Prime Minister David Cameron, who will step down Wednesday. The swift impending departure of Cameron and the instalment of his replacement helped bring some calm amid Brexit fears.

“Some of that is reducing the uncertainty around what is going on in the U.K, even though it doesn’t change the outlook for the challenges that lie ahead with Brexit,” said Fehr.

In commodities, the August crude contract was down 65 cents at US$44.76 per barrel, putting downward pressure on the Canadian dollar. The loonie lost 0.48 of a cent from 76.21 cents US.

The August natural gas contract declined 10 cents at US$2.70 per mmBTU, the August gold contract lost $1.80 to US$1,356.60 an ounce and September copper contracts gained three cents to US$2.15 a pound.

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Note to readers: This is a corrected a story. A previous version had an incorrect figure for the TSX close.