Dollar back above 80 cents US, S&P/TSX composite index makes gains

The Canadian dollar rose back above 80 cents on Thursday, while the S&P/TSX composite index made gains as Statistics Canada said the nation's economic growth outpaced expectations in the second quarter.

S&P/TSX composite index rises 78.74 points

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 31, 2017. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The Toronto Stock Exchange's main index rose sharply Thursday as Statistics Canada reported the country's surging economic growth blew past forecasts in the second quarter.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 78.74 points to 15,221.87 in a broad-based advance.

In the morning, Statistics Canada released data showing real gross domestic product expanded at an annual pace of 4.5 per cent, the country's best GDP start to a calendar year since 2002.

The second-quarter figures followed an impressive jolt of 3.7 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

The TSX lifted as the growth far outpaced expectations, said Jillian Bryan, vice-president at TD Wealth Private Investment Advice.

Gains on the commodity-heavy index were led by the energy sector where shares advanced an average of 1.3 per cent of their worth.

Energy companies benefited from a bump in oil prices as tropical storm Harvey continued to hamper supply, said Bryan, pointing out that one the largest refineries in the U.S. had to shut down operations due to the storm.

"If a refinery shuts down that means they're not producing all the different types of gasoline and distillates that they would refine," she said.

"Therefore, your supply is going to decline and when supply declines, it pushes the price up."

The October crude contract climbed $1.27 to $47.23 US per barrel.

Amid the rise in oil prices and the positive economic news, the Canadian dollar moved back above 80 cents US. The loonie was trading at 80.14 cents US, up 0.91 of a cent from Wednesday's close.

​Bryan said the Canadian dollar also benefited from the strong economic growth figures, as they strengthened the case for the Bank of Canada to raise rates as early as next week.

The central bank will announce a decision regarding the benchmark interest rate next Wednesday.

Wall Street higher

On Wall Street, markets also finished the day on a positive note as investors were pleased with a report that showed spending by U.S. consumers grew in July, along with wages and salaries.

The Dow Jones industrial gained 55.67 points to 21,948.10 and the S&P 500 index rose 14.06 points to 2,471.65. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, hit a record high of 6,428.66, up 60.35 points.

Elsewhere in commodities, the December gold contract moved up $8.10 to $1,322.20 US, the October natural gas contract advanced 10.1 cents to $3.04 US per mmBTU, and the December copper contract gained about 1.2 cents to roughly $3.10 US a pound.

with files from CBC News