By Jennifer Kwan
TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto's main stock index
notched its highest close in more than 15 weeksWednesday as
U.S. and overseas economic data stoked optimism about global
Toronto took its cue from world stock markets, which
rallied on stronger economic numbers from China and Australia
and on a closely watched report that showed the U.S.
manufacturing sector expanded more quickly than expected in
In China, the manufacturing sector rebounded in August
after slowing for several months, while Australia's economy
grew at the fastest pace in three years last quarter.
Those rosy readings sent oil prices sharply higher, while
copper hit multi-month highs, pushing up the TSX index's
Suncor Energy rallied 4.7 percent to C$33.73, while
First Quantum Minerals shot up 5.7 percent to C$64.96.
Teck Resources jumped 5.5 percent to C$37.64.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
finished the day up 89.92 points, or 0.75 percent, at
12,003.78, with eight of its 10 main sectors higher. It was the
index's sixth day in positive territory and its highest close
since May 14.
The blue chip S&P/TSX 60 index closed 5.24 points,
or 0.75 percent, higher at 699.29.
While Toronto got caught up in the optimism reflected in
global equities, other factors were also at play, said Levente
Mady, market strategist at Union Securities in Vancouver.
"There's some positive seasonality this week heading into
Labor Day and there must be some short-covering that is driving
this bounce," he said.
Despite the rally, the "overwhelming majority" of data
points to a sluggish economic landscape, particularly when it
comes to the labor market, Mady said.
Another report Wednesday, for example, showed the U.S.
private sector unexpectedly cut 10,000 jobs in August, compared
with a gain of 37,000 in July.
"Some of the data overnight was good. The ISM
(manufacturing) number was good, but I don't believe this rally
and I think the overwhelming majority of the data continues to
be soft and points to weakness on the economic front. I don't
know if this is sustainable," he said.
Economically sensitive financial shares rose 1.3 percent
Wednesday with Royal Bank of Canada up 2 percent, and
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce up 1.6 percent.
Quarterly profit at Bombardier Inc fell 27
percent on weakness in both its aerospace and train-making
segments, but a significant reduction in business-jet
cancellations pointed to a recovery in that sector. Bombardier
shares jumped 3.6 percent to C$4.60.
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc , up 4 percent at
C$23.80, raised its offer for Casey's General Stores
to $38.50 a share on Wednesday, trumping the $38 a share
offered by Casey's under a recapitalization plan aimed at
thwarting a Couche-Tard takeover.
(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Peter Galloway)