TSX gains 106 points, loonie also closes up

TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market finished higher for a six straight session Thursday amid growing investor confidence in gold and base metals miners as well as energy issues.

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The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 105.72 points to close at 13,123.65.

The index is up 370 points in a little over a week, as the majority of sectors made solid gains.

Gold was the leading advancer, up by more than three per cent, while energy issues got a boost of 2.82 per cent as shares in Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) soared nearly nine per cent to $32.85.

The oil and gas producer says it still plans on spending $2 billion on its Horizon oilsands project this year even as the company cuts a billion dollars from its 2016 capital budget.

Colin Cieszynski, a chief market strategist at CMC Markets Canada, said investors are enjoying the broad-based gains but cautioned that the market can't go up forever.

"We're going to have a down day sooner than later," he said.

"It doesn't hurt to see this nice recovery, these steady gains. With these kind of gains, you aren't going to see them everyday, but a trend built on smaller increases is more sustainable. It's actually more positive for the market in general."

On Wednesday, the Toronto market pushed past the 13,000-mark for the first time this year. Cieszynski said continued gains also show that these higher levels are warranted.

"Not only did we go through it, but we didn't just go above it and (get) pounded right down," he said. "We've gone above it and we held above it. That's good. That's a sign of good underlying support for the market."

Cieszynski said the current run-up has been supported not only by the resource sectors, but also by financial stocks, with Canada's biggest banks having recently reported better than expected quarterly earnings.

On commodity markets, the April gold contract gained $16.40 to US$1,258.20 a troy ounce, while May copper added three cents to US$2.21 a pound.

The April contract for benchmark U.S. crude oil was down nine cents at US$34.57 a barrel, while April natural gas retreated four cents to US$1.64 per mmBtu.

The Canadian dollar added 0.17 of a U.S. cent to 74.65 cents US.

Indexes in New York shed earlier losses and turned higher late in the session as investors awaited the U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday. The report is an important barometer on the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 44.58 points at 16,943.90, while the broader S&P 500 added 6.9 points to 1,993.40 and the Nasdaq eased up four points to 4,707.42.



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