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North American markets close higher, with Nasdaq hitting new record

TORONTO — The base metals, industrials and consumer discretionary sectors lifted the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, while the Nasdaq hit at an all-time high. The S&P/TSX composite index was up 72.68 points to 15,625.
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TORONTO — The base metals, industrials and consumer discretionary sectors lifted the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, while the Nasdaq hit at an all-time high.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 72.68 points to 15,625.56, led by base metals stocks, which were up by 1.89 per cent.

The industrials and consumer discretionary sectors of the TSX were both up 0.96 per cent, while the lead decliner was the health-care sector, down 0.87 per cent.

The Canadian dollar was 74.23 cents US, up 0.05 of a cent from Wednesday's close.

In New York, markets regained Wednesday's losses, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 174.22 points to 20,578.71 while the S&P 500 index added 17.67 points to 2,355.84. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 53.75 points to 5,916.78 — a new record.

Michael Currie, a vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth, said political uncertainty in the world — the upcoming elections in France and the recent attacks in Syria as a couple of examples — has made investors jittery and left the stock market more volatile than usual.

"It's been bouncing up and down for a few days now," Currie said.

Corporate earnings have helped the markets, with positive results so far on both sides of the border.

Shares of CP Rail were up 2.59 per cent, or $5.24, to $207.26 after the company reported after markets closed Wednesday that revenue increased one per cent in the latest quarter due to higher volumes of potash, metals, minerals and grain. The company's results were slightly ahead of analyst expectations.

Home Capital, however, saw its stock plunge 20.65 per cent, or $4.61, to $17.71, a day after the Ontario Securities Commission alleged that the company's two former CEOs and the current CFO broke securities law in how they handled a scandal involving falsified loan applications.

The securities watchdog issued a notice of hearing and a statement of allegations naming the company and former chief executives Gerald Soloway and Martin Reid. It also named Robert Morton, who is currently the chief financial officer of the Toronto-based mortgage lender.

Home Capital has said the allegations are without merit and vowed to defend itself.

In commodities, the June crude oil contract slipped 14 cents to US$50.71 per barrel in spite of recent news that OPEC will likely extend its output cut into the second half of the year.

"Oil's been on a nice run but it's pulled back recently," Currie said. "It's still on an up trend even though it's pulled back, so that's good for the Canadian market at least."

The May natural gas contract was down three cents at US$3.16 per mmBTU, while the June gold contract added 40 cents at US$1,283.80 an ounce. The May copper contract was up nearly a cent at US$2.54 a pound.

 

Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter.

Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press



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