Energy, financials propel S&P/TSX composite to best day in nearly two months

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index had its best day in nearly two months as the heavyweight energy and financials sectors got lifts from rising crude oil prices and bond yields.

Crude prices climbed three per cent to their highest level in more than six weeks as hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico reduced supply and caused U.S. stockpiles to fall to their lowest level since September 2019.

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"So the market has seen a nice bounce here over the last few weeks as it continues to grapple with this restrained output following the storm a few weeks back," said Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager for Fiera Capital.

Oil prices are up six per cent so far in the month which has allowed the energy-heavy TSX to outperform U.S. markets. Financials also climbed Wednesday as banking stocks were helped by higher bond yields.

The October crude oil contract was up US$2.15 at US$72.61 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was up 20 cents at US$5.46 per mmBTU.

Shares of Vermilion Energy Inc. rose 6.8 per cent, followed by Crescent Point Energy Corp. and Cenovus Energy Inc. at 6.4 and 5.9 per cent, respectively.

The financials sector was one of seven that were up on the day with shares rising for six of the country's seven largest banks as higher bond yields help bank profitability. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce led at 1.2 per cent, while National Bank lost 0.3 per cent.

"It's just a technical move after an extended period of downward moving bond yields," Bangsund said in an interview.

Industrials rose as shares of Canadian National Railway Co. increased 1.4 per cent after the Montreal-based railway dropped out of the takeover battle with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. for Kansas City Southern.

Materials were up even though gold prices fell.

The December gold contract was down US$12.30 at US$1,794.80 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 8.6 cents at nearly US$4.41 a pound.

Overall, the S&P/TSX composite index closed up 140.54 points to 20,693.79 for its best day since July 21.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 236.82 points at 34,814.39. The S&P 500 index was up 37.65 points at 4,480.70, while the Nasdaq composite was up 123.77 points at 15,161.53.

Higher crude oil prices supported the Canadian dollar which traded for 79.05 cents US compared with 78.98 cents US on Tuesday.

The loonie was also helped by Canada's consumer price index rising 4.1 per cent in August for the largest year-over-year inflation increase since 2003.

The CPI came a day after U.S. inflation numbers were a tad softer than expected, which helped to alleviate fears the Federal Reserve would step in more aggressively or earlier than expected to rein in some of its stimulus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR, TSX:CP, TSX:VET, TSX:CPG, TSX:CVE, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

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