TSX closes at highest level since 2008
Canada's benchmark stock index now near level it was before recession
The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index closed at its highest level in more than five years on Thursday, pushed higher by stronger prices for commodities Canada has a lot of like oil and natural gas.
In the last trading session before the Easter holiday, the S&P/TSX Composite Index closed at 14,500.39, up more than 50 points on the day.
That's a 52-week high, but it's also the highest the index has been since the summer of 2008, before the global recession had fully hit. The TSX's all-time high of 15,073 was hit in June of 2008, almost six years ago.
There didn't appear to be any main catalyst for the optimism Thursday, as the only major data point that emerged during the day was a solid if unspectacular 1.5 per cent showing for the inflation rate. That's higher than February's level, but still well within the acceptable range.
The loonie gained about a tenth of a cent to flirt with the 91-cent US level. The oil sector was higher as the price of oil gained 38 cents to $104.14 US a barrel in New York. Natural gas was also up more than 20 cents to $4.73.
Wall Street higher
New York stocks were also a little higher as investors digested largely positive earnings from corporate heavyweights like Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Google, Yahoo, IBM and Pepsi.
The Dow Jones industrials were 14.13 points higher at 16,438.98, the Nasdaq gained 18.98 points to 4,105.2 and the S&P 500 index was up 5.45 points to 1,867.76.
"The concerns remain whether or not growth stocks, particularly the hyper-growth stocks, continue to be a victim of the growth to value rotation," said Ben Jang, portfolio manager at Nicola Wealth Management in Vancouver.
One reason for nervousness heading into the weekend was the Ukraine crisis.
Stocks rose to the best levels of the session Thursday after the United States, the European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine. The agreement requires all sides to refrain from violence, intimidation or provocative actions.
It calls for the disarming of all illegally armed groups and for control of buildings seized by pro-Russian separatists to be turned back to authorities. The tentative agreement puts on hold additional economic sanctions the West had prepared to impose on Russia if the talks proved fruitless.
With files from The Canadian Press