TSX rises, Canadian dollar falls ahead of budget

The TSX was higher on Monday, while the Canadian dollar sank in quiet trading ahead of the federal budget.

Oil prices spike above $40 US a barrel as crude stockpiles drop

Trading was light on Monday as traders wait to see what Tuesday's federal budget will hold. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

The TSX was higher on Monday, while the Canadian dollar sank in quiet trading ahead of the federal budget.

Traders are waiting to hear from Tuesday's budget how the new Liberal government will direct its infrastructure spending and how much Canada's deficit will rise as a result.

The Canadian dollar fell half a cent to 76.42 cents US at the close of trading.

The TSX was up 66 points to 13,563, buoyed in part by a change of leadership at embattled Valeant.

Valeant stock rose after it disclosed that chief executive J. Michael Pearson would be leaving and that Ackman, head of New York-based Pershing Square Capital and a significant Valeant shareholder, would become a director.

Toronto stocks also reacted to the rising oil prices, with the West Texas Intermediate contract spiking above $40 US a barrel in the morning.

WTI, the benchmark North American contract, closed up 47 cents at $39.91 US. Brent crude, the main international contract, was trading at $41.59, up 39 cents.

There were further signs of increased demand for oil in the U.S., with crude stockpiles in Cushing falling 570,574 barrels to 69.05 million in the week to March 18. That drop follows a string of increases in crude storage.

The decline helps diminish the risk that the storage tanks at Cushing will reach capacity.

However, it's too soon to say the crude oversupply problem is solved.

Some U.S. shale oil producers are planning to activate drilled but uncompleted wells as oil moves above $40, among them Oasis Petroleum and Pioneer Natural Resources.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 21 points to 17,623, while the broader S&P 500 added 2.2 points to 2,051 and the Nasdaq rose 13 points to 4,808.

Two big corporate deals were buoying U.S stocks — Marriott's $14.4-billion bid for Starwood Hotels and Sherwin-William's takeover of rival paint maker Valspar.