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Toronto stock market posts triple-digit gain ahead of results from oilpatch


TORONTO — Canada's main stock index posted a triple-digit gain Tuesday ahead of the start of quarterly corporate reporting by the country's oilpatch.

Suncor Energy Inc. will be the first major Canadian oil company to report this quarter, after markets close Tuesday. The results come a day after British Petroleum crushed expectations in its fourth-quarter results, says Brian See, vice president at CIBC Asset Management.

"It's almost like a forecast of what to expect from Canadian producers this upcoming season," he said in an interview.

Canadian earnings season is beginning as about half of S&P 500 companies have reported with most topping analyst expectations but not at the pace of a year ago when they got a boost from lower U.S. federal taxes.

"They're still positive but they're definitely slowing down," he said.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 100.37 points to 15,702.69 after hitting an intraday high of 15,702.69.

The consumer staples sector rose about two per cent as Alimentation Couche Tard Inc. led the index. It was followed by industrials. Health care was the lone sector to lose ground, falling 1.2 per cent as cannabis stocks dipped a day after posting strong gains.

The influential energy sector was essentially flat despite another dip in crude oil prices.

The March crude contract was down 90 cents at US$53.66 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 0.2 of a cent at US$2.66 per mmBTU.

Oil prices fell as reports showed that Russian oil production was higher than expected in January as promised cuts won't take place until after the first quarter, and Iranian exports continued to surge to add more supply to an oversupplied market.

The financials sector was in the middle of the pack, rising 0.68 per cent despite reports pointing to mortgage growth falling to a 17-year low in Canada.

"That's a trend that's been happening but that is something that people are talking about," said See.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 76.14 cents US compared with an average of 76.18 cents US on Monday.

The April gold contract was down 10 cents at US$1,319.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 2.25 cents at US$2.82 a pound.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 172.15 points at 25,411.52. The S&P 500 index was up 12.83 points at 2,737.70, while the Nasdaq composite was up 54.55 points at 7,402.08

 

 

Companies, index and currency in this story: (TSX:SU, TSX:ATD.B, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press



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