North America markets pushed to higher ground on Tuesday, spurred by strong housing sales in the U.S. and an improving labour picture in Canada.
Canada's five largest banks traded up on U.S. news that existing-home sales rose 7.4 per cent last month, the biggest gain in more than two years and a larger gain than economists had forecasted.
Shares of National Bank, however, fell 3 per cent, to $60.03, after the bank agreed to pay $75-million in penalties and investigation costs for its role in the asset-backed commercial paper meltdown. The sum represents the bulk of the $138.8-million that several Canadian financial institutions agreed to pay.
Research In Motion shares led decliners in Toronto, falling 3 per cent to $71.31 after UBS analyst Maynard Um said the BlackBerry maker faces growing competition.
Statistics Canada said fewer Canadians claimed jobless benefits in October than the previous month. The news helped lift the S&P/TSX up 73.26 points to close at 11627.98.
In New York, the S&P 500 hit its highest mark in almost 15 months, closing up 3.97 points at 1,118.02. The Dow Jones industrial average added 50.79 points, ending the session at 1,0464.93.
Citigroup was the most active issue on the S&P 500, closing down 3 per cent at $3.34, after the Wall Street Journal reported the bank's security systems had been breached. Citigroup said the allegations were false.
Shares of KB Home, a residential construction firm, rose 7 per cent, to $13.80, after a report said U.S. existing home sales rose 7.4 per cent, the biggest gain in more than two years and a larger gain than economists had forecasted.
Crude rose after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to maintain production targets at a meeting in Angola. The price of a barrel of oil rose 68 cents to $74.40.
Gold declined $9.30 an ounce to $1,086.70. The Canadian dollar added 0.63 cents (U.S.) against the U.S. currency, trading at 94.85 cents.