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Financials and IT stocks lift Canadian market higher

Xinhua, February 8, 2017 Adjust font size:

Canada's main stock market in Toronto advanced on Tuesday, as gains in Financials and Information Technology sectors overcame slumping energy stocks.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite climbed 41.86 points, or 0.27 percent, to end the session at 15,498.80 points. Nine of the ten sub-groups finished the day ahead.

The Financials and Information Technology groups saw the biggest gains on the day, moving up 0.61 percent and 0.60 percent, respectively.

The TSX Financials group, which accounts for the largest weight in the index, was aided by the country's biggest banks on the day. Bank of Nova Scotia shares jumped 1.06 percent to 79.06 Canadian dollars (60.03 U.S. dollars), while Royal Bank of Canada saw a 0.64 percent uptick to 95.28 Canadian dollars (72.35 U.S. dollars). Also contributing were insurance firms Manulife Financial Corporation and Sun Life Financial Inc., finishing with respective gains of 0.49 percent and 0.32 percent.

The TSX IT group benefited from Waterloo-based Blackberry Limited shares climbing 2.51 percent to 9.41 Canadian dollars (7.15 U.S. dollars) after introducing a cloud-based enterprise communication platform that will provide independent software developers with the highest security. This news comes one day after the firm announced a mobile licensing deal with an Indian firm.

Tech firms DH Corporation and CGI Group also finished ahead on the day, with gains of 0.97 percent and 0.61 percent.

The remaining groups that ended Tuesday on a positive were: Consumer Discretionary (0.60 percent), Materials (0.49 percent), Consumer Staples (0.48 percent), Utilities (0.47 percent), Industrials (0.40 percent), Health Care (0.38 percent), and Telecommunications (0.27 percent).

Industrials group was supported by a 5.18 percent jump in shares of Toromont Industries Ltd. The Toronto-based equipment and refrigeration firm reported strong fourth quarter financials that saw year-over-year increases in revenue (3.61 percent) and net earnings (6.86 percent).

Also reporting fourth quarter earnings was Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Inc. The firm reported that 2016 earnings fell 19.59 percent to 295.5 million Canadian dollars. As a result of the news, shares of the country's second largest airline slipped 2.47 percent to 21.69 Canadian dollars (16.47 U.S. dollars).

The lone group to finish in the red on Tuesday was Energy, stumbling 0.92 percent after the American Petroleum Institute reported a surge in crude oil inventories. The organization reported an increase of 14.2 million barrels for the week ending Feb. 3, exceeding the market expectation of 2.5 million barrels. As a result, Brent crude for April delivery slipped 1.31 percent to 55.13 U.S. dollars a barrel.

Shares of Calgary-based firms Baytex Energy Corp. and Encana Corporation were among the top-five most traded on the day. Baytex shares fell 4.63 percent to 4.74 Canadian dollars (3.60 U.S. dollars). Meanwhile, Encana slumped 2.99 percent to close at 15.60 Canadian dollars (11.85 U.S. dollars), its ninth straight session without a gain.

Since the beginning of the year, the energy group has been the worst performer in the TSX with a 10.78 percent loss.

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.5 cents to close the day at 0.7593 U.S. dollars. Endite