Stocks continue their recovery after Japan cuts rates

North American stocks moved higher for a fourth straight day following a strengthening of global markets after Japan's decision to cut interest rates.

Canadian dollar wavers then ends higher amid fluctuating rates environment

The Toronto stock market has had four days of gains, after a volatile start to 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press )

North American stocks moved higher for a fourth straight day following a strengthening of global markets.

The Bank of Japan's decision to move toward negative interest rates in an effort to stimulate its economy help Asian markets move higher. Europe followed, in the wake of the European Central Bank's statement leaving the door open to further stimulus, possibly in March.

Oil held its value after weeks of volatility, with the West Texas Intermediate contract up 38 cents to $33.60 US a barrel.

Oil had moved briefly above $34 on Thursday amid signs that Russia might be amenable to cutting its output in an effort to help the recovery in crude prices.

The TSX responded with a 230-point rise to 12,822 at the close of trading. The index is still down 1.4 per cent since the beginning of the year.

The Canadian dollar dropped below 71 cents for a time because negative interest rates in Japan and Europe may put further pressure on the Bank of Canada to cut rates. Last week, the Canadian central bank decided to hold firm on rates.

But by the close, the loonie had rebounded and was above Thursday's level, at 71.42 cents US.

There was some positive news on Canada's economy from Statistics Canada, which estimated November GDP growth at 0.3 per cent.

However economists still forecast flat performance for the final quarter of 2015, as there was no growth in October and it is feared the brief uptick in oil exports may be temporary.

In the U.S., Japan's interest rate cut was seen as a sign the U.S. Federal Reserve may not be able to raise rates four times this year, as it has projected.

The Dow Jones industrial index rose 396 points to close at 16,466 and the broader S&P 500 index was up 46 points to end the day at 1,940.