At midday: Energy, financial shares drive gains on TSX

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At midday: Energy, financial shares drive gains on TSX

Canada’s main stock index rose to a more than three-month high on Monday, helped by gains in energy and financial shares.

At 11:33 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 104.42 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 16,008.74.

The energy sector’s 1.6-per-cent rise was the biggest boost to the main index. U.S. crude rose 0.34 per cent to $70.94 per barrel and Brent was last at $77.85, up 0.95 per cent on the day.

Shares of Thomson Reuters Corp. rose 2.1 per cent, boosting the financial index, after RBC and Canaccord Genuity upgraded their ratings for the news and information company.

Shares of Element Fleet Management Corp. rose 8 per cent. The company named Jay Forbes chief executive officer and announced a plan to revamp its board by adding four new independent directors.

Also helping the sentiment was Gold prices, which edged higher on Monday as the U.S. dollar retreated from a 2018 peak, helping shares of precious metal miners.

All ten of Canada’s main index sectors were in the positive territory.

The Stars Group Inc. jumped 12 per cent after the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for states to legalize sports betting, endorsing New Jersey’s bid to allow such wagering and striking down a 1992 federal law that prohibited it in most places.

Shares of Canadian marijuana companies rise after Aurora Cannabis announced a $3.2-bln deal to buy rival MedReleaf Corp, the biggest deal in the history of the country’s young cannabis sector

Shares of Aurora Cannabis were up 0.7 per cent and Canopy Growth rose 9.5 per cent, both among most actively traded stocks across all Canadian exchanges.

Stocks in the United States and Asia rallied on hopes for improving trade relations between the U.S. and China, while the U.S. dollar weakened for a fourth straight session against a basket of currencies.

U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday to help ZTE Corp “get back into business, fast” after a U.S. ban crippled the Chinese technology company, offering a job-saving concession to Beijing ahead of high-stakes trade talks this week.

Growing trade tensions have worried investors, with concerns about a global trade war feeding into increased volatility in the stock market in recent months.

“At least today, investors are looking at that as a sign that meaningful negotiations are going forward between the U.S. and China on trade,” Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama, said of the ZTE announcement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 141.37 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 24,972.54, the S&P 500 gained 10.73 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 2,738.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 42.87 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 7,445.76.

Shares of optical components makers Acacia Communications and Oclaro Inc rallied following the ZTE news.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.62 per cent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.47 per cent.

Investors also pointed to improving sentiment about geopolitical tensions involving North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Washington would agree to lift sanctions on North Korea if the country agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, a move that would create economic prosperity that “will rival” that of South Korea.

“It looks like the markets want to move up, and there seems to be a rosier outlook for geopolitics especially North Korea,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.05 per cent, while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.38 percent, reaching its highest level in about two months. The dollar fell as investors questioned whether a rally that last week sent the greenback to more than four-month highs had run out of steam.

The dollar index fell 0.15 percent, with the euro up 0.23 per cent to $1.1969.

“The momentum behind the dollar move is starting to stall a little bit,” said Mark McCormick, North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities in Toronto.

Yields on key U.S. and European bonds rose after a European Central Bank policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said the ECB could give fresh guidance on the timing it its first rate hike as the end of its bond purchases approaches.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last fell 7/32 in price to yield 2.9951 per cent, from 2.971 per cent late on Friday, Benchmark German 10-year bond yields climbed to a 2-1/2-week high.