The Toronto stock market was higher Monday amid rising metal prices, while traders also looked to the kickoff of the second-quarter earnings season in the U.S. with results from resource giant Alcoa Inc.
The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 74.12 points to 12,209.03.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.1 of a cent to 94.73 cents US amid data showing surprising strength in the Canadian housing sector in May. Statistics Canada reported that building permits worth $7.3-billion were issued in May, up 4.5 per cent from April. Economists had expected a drop in the neighbourhood of 10 per cent.
U.S. indexes ran ahead, building on strong gains from the end of last week after job creation figures from June blew past expectations.
The Dow Jones industrials gained 93.39 points to 15,229.23, the Nasdaq was ahead 14.17 points at 3,493.55 and the S&P 500 index advanced 9.26 points to 1,641.15.
Analysts at FactSet expect Alcoa to post quarterly earnings of six cents a share and revenue of $5.85-billion (U.S.) after the market close. The aluminum giant earned six cents a share on revenue of $5.96-billion a year ago.
Alcoa’s debt rating was downgraded to junk by Moody’s Investors Service on May 29, cutting the rating by one notch to Ba1 from Baa3 with a stable outlook. Moody’s cited weaker aluminum demand on slower growth in China and a recession in Europe for the move.
Oil prices were lower after unrest in Egypt helped push the price of crude up seven per cent last week. The August crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 72 cents to $102.50 a barrel.
The TSX base metals sector led advancers, up about one per cent while copper prices inched up a cent to $3.07 a pound after sliding 11 cents on Friday. First Quantum Minerals rose 21 cents to $15.56.
Financials also provided lift with the sector ahead 0.5 per cent. Manulife Financial gained 36 cents to $17.66.
Gold prices also headed higher amid a sign that the recent steep price drop may be coming to an end. The August bullion contract on the Nymex rose $18.30 to $1,231 an ounce after strategists at Deutsche Bank said much of gold’s correction may have already happened.
Prices have been particularly under pressure since late May when U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the central bank could taper its program of bond purchases. Gold now is down more than 30 per cent from a peak of around $1,900 an ounce in September 2011.
The gold sector was up about 0.4 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 14 cents to $14.71.
Railway stocks were lower amid questions being asked about the transporting of crude oil in the wake of a derailment over the weekend in Lac-Megantic, Que., that killed at least five people. Canadian National Railway was down 59 cents to $102.87 and Canadian Pacific off eight cents to $127.13.
European bourses were higher amid news that Greece’s international creditors appeared to have reached a deal with the cash-strapped country over further economic reforms required for the release of bailout funds. A meeting later in the day of the finance ministers of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro is expected to confirm the release.
London’s FTSE 100 index edged up 0.56 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 2.31 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 ran ahead 1.88 per cent.
Earlier, most Asian markets fell amid renewed worries over the economic recovery in China and as traders looked to inflation data coming out Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 1.3 per cent. Mainland Chinese shares sank, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 2.4 per cent and the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index off 3.6 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.4 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.9 per cent.