Tag: Richard

TORONTO — North American markets closed sharply higher Wednesday with rising oil and other commodities leading the way in Toronto while technology stocks help fuel a big rebound in New York.The S&P/TSX composite index finished up 71.33 points at 14,889.04 as oil prices continued to trend above US$60 a barrel and other commodities also advanced amid general U.S. dollar weakness.The loonie was among currencies helped by the softening greenback, rising 0.55 of a U.S. cent to 81.55 cents.“Canada is having a good day including, of course, the fact that the Canadian dollar has gained about half a per cent,” said Ross Healy, chairman of Strategic Analysis Corp. in Toronto.“(But) I think we would have to really trace it all back and thank the governor of the Bank of Japan,” Healy said, referring to comments earlier in the day by governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who said Japanese interest rates could not go any lower, prompting a rally in the yen and subsequently other currencies against the U.S. dollar.A lower U.S. dollar tends to benefit the price of oil and metals, which in turn supports the commodity-heavy Toronto market.The July contract for benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude settled up $1.29 at US$61.43 a barrel, while August gold gained $9 to US$1,186.10 an ounce.South of the border, the Dow Jones industrial average shot up a whopping 236.6 points to 18,000.40, ending a four-day slide and erasing its loss for the year to date.Technology and energy stocks were also among issues spearheading the advance, with Microsoft and IBM among the biggest gained in the Dow. The tech-heavy Nasdaq soared 70.31 points to 5,084.17 and the S&P 500 rose 27.41 points to 2,107.56.Whether or not the market can hang on to those gains is a matter of conjecture amid uncertainty about when the U.S. Federal Reserve decides to raise interest rates.Historically low rates have been credited with providing liquidity that has helped fuel stock market gains since the Great Recession, but Healy said the expansion, should it continue into 2016, would be one of the longest ever.Meanwhile, Healy said the Fed lacks the weapons to fight a potential recession a year or two down the road and he believes chairwoman Janet Yellen is positioning the U.S. central bank for a rate increase that would put back the “rate-cut weapon in her arsenal.”“I don’t see that (an increase of) 50 basis points or 100 basis points is going to do signal damage to anything as far as the economy is concerned,” said Healy.“Actually, an interest rate increase would be confirmation that the economy is stronger than expected.”The Canadian Press read more