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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange May 8, 2014. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange May 8, 2014. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

The close: TSX hits highest level since 2008 Add to ...

Canada’s main stock index reached its highest level since June 2008 on Wednesday as positive data about U.S. services sector growth and a decision by the Bank of Canada to leave rates unchanged boosted investor sentiment.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index unofficially closed up 62.10 points, or 0.42 percent, at 14,796.79. Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher.

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Better-than-expected U.S. services sector growth drove gains on Wall Street and boosted the S&P 500 to a record closing high, reversing earlier losses on an industry report showing weakness in the U.S. private-sector labor market. Yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes edged higher.

The Institute for Supply Management said its U.S. services sector index rose to 56.3 in May from 55.2 in April, topping expectations for a read of 55.5. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

“The ISM number was a clear beat and reversed us,” said Robert Francello, head trader at Apex Capital in San Francisco. “People wanted to see something at least solid to keep us stable before the ECB tomorrow.”

Earlier, the ADP National Employment Report showed about 179,000 private-sector jobs were added in May, below the 210,000 that had been expected. April’s job gains were revised downward by 5,000.

The government will release its more comprehensive labor report on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 15.13 points or 0.09 percent, to 16,737.47, the S&P 500 gained 3.62 points or 0.19 percent, to 1,927.86 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.562 points or 0.41 percent, to 4,251.642.

The CBOE Volatility Index jumped 0.9 percent, its third straight daily advance. The VIX, known as the “fear index,” remained just below 12 and well below the historical average of 20 - a trend that some interpret as a sign that investors have become complacent.

The information technology sector was the biggest TSX advancer, up one per cent as BlackBerry (TSX:BB) ran up 25 cents to $8.40.

The financial sector was ahead 0.64 per cent and Laurentian Bank of Canada (TSX:LB) shares edged 48 cents higher to $48.06 as the bank’s adjusted profit came in at $1.29 a share, five cents ahead of estimates. Laurentian also upped its quarterly dividend by a penny to 52 cents per share.

The gold sector was ahead about 0.2 per cent, while August bullion lost early momentum and faded 20 cents to US$1,244.30 an ounce.

The energy sector was up 0.63 per cent while the July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped two cents to US$102.64 a barrel.

The base metals segment led decliners, down 0.27 per cent while July copper fell four cents to US$3.09 a pound.

With files from The Canadian Press

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