TORONTO — Canada's main stock index rallied Tuesday as energy stocks rose on production curtailment by OPEC and optimism was stoked on two geopolitical fronts.
Market sentiment was helped by a deal to avert another U.S. government shutdown and U.S. President Donald Trump signalling he could extend the March 1 deadline to impose higher Chinese tariffs if progress is made when talks resume this week, said Natalie Taylor, portfolio manager for CIBC Asset Management.
"Obviously, we're still in the midst of an earnings season that's been more positive than not so I'm sure that's helping sentiment as well," she said in an interview.
She said the market was worried about the economy and peak earnings.
"Companies are proving that the economy's doing okay and that the results are better than expectations so yes the bar was lower but we've handily been able to beat those lowered expectations."
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday he doesn't feel the probability of a recession in the U.S. "is at all elevated" as the country continues to see solid economic growth.
On trade, Taylor said investors want to see progress but will are willing to give negotiators some slack.
"If it's pushed out a little bit that's all right. If it's another 90 days or even longer than that then I think it starts to get a little more long in the tooth."
The S&P/TSX composite index closed up closed up 73.25 points at 15,642.10 after hitting an intraday high of 15,654.82.
The gains were led by the energy sector, which rose 1.5 per cent as several companies saw their share prices increase. Crescent Point Energy was up 5.8 per cent, followed by Cenovus Energy. However, Enbridge Inc. lost 2.2 per cent on an up day on the back of a decision by the Minnesota governor to side with environmentalists by continuing to pursue a regulatory appeal of the replacement of the Line 3 crude oil pipeline.
The March crude contract was up 69 cents at US$53.10 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 4.6 cents at US$2.69 per mmBTU.
That pushed the Canadian dollar higher. It traded at an average of 75.48 cents US, up from 75.22 cents US Monday.
The health care sector was up 1.1 per cent as Aurora Cannabis' strong quarterly results late Monday gave a lift to much of the sector even though the company's shares fell a little, said Taylor.
The key financial sector was also higher but materials were weaker despite a higher gold price.
The April gold contract was up $2.10 at US$1,314 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 1.8 cents at US$2.77 a pound.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 372.65 points at 25,425.76. The S&P 500 index was up 34.93 points at 2,744.73, while the Nasdaq composite was up 106.71 points at 7,414.62.
Companies, index and currency in this story: (TSX:ACB, TSX:ENB, TSX:CPG, TSX:CVE, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press