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North American markets close higher on positive outlook for U.S.-China trade deal


TORONTO — North American markets all closed higher on a broad-based rally fuelled by positive geopolitical news on Wednesday.

Stock markets got a boost after U.S. President Donald Trump said trade talks were progressing and said he would intervene in the case against China's Huawei Technologies if it helped to reach a trade deal.

They were supported later in the day ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May surviving a confidence vote.

"The trade issue is definitely the number one thing affecting the markets right now," said Michael Currie, vice-president and investment adviser at TD Wealth.

The geopolitical issue drove up big U.S. stocks like Caterpillar and Boeing that are highly sensitive to China trade.

"Those are the ones getting the boost so generally the feeling is that's going to get settled," he said in an interview.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 115.23 points to end at 14,783.06 with all but the real estate sector rising.

The information technology sector rose 2.2 per cent on the back of gains by Shopify Inc. and Constellation Software Inc.

Higher gold prices helped gold stocks like Yamana Gold Inc., Kinross Gold Corp. and Goldcorp Inc.

The February gold contract was up US$2.80 at US$1,250 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 0.3 of a cent at US$2.77 a pound.

The run up in metal prices stemmed from the strength of the British pound which put pressure on the U.S. dollar, said Currie.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 74.93 cents US compared with an average of 74.62 cents US on Tuesday.

The energy sector was up 1.55 per cent even though crude prices lost ground despite a strong start to the day caused by a drop in U.S. crude inventories, lower Libyan exports and reaction to OPEC cutting production.

"All of that stuff pushed oil up at the beginning of the day but for some reason it ended the day down," he added.

The January crude contract was down 50 cents at US$51.15 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 27.1 cents at US$4.14 per mmBTU.

"It's not a significant drop...but it's kind of surprising with the good news that it hasn't done better," he said of crude prices.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 157.03 points at 24,527.27. The S&P 500 index was up 14.29 at 2,651.07 while the Nasdaq composite was up 66.48 points at 7,098.31

 

Companies, index and currencies in this story: (TSX:SHOP, TSX:CSU, TSX:YRI, TSX:K, TSX:G, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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