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The close: TSX gains in broad rally led by financials, energy stocks

A file photo from the TMX Broadcast Centre in downtown Toronto in 2013.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Canada's main stock index ended higher on Thursday, helped by gains among energy stocks as oil prices picked up as well as rising financial, consumer and technology stocks.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 106.9 points, or 0.67 per cent, at 16,015.68.

Eight of the index's 10 main sectors finished in positive territory, with advancers outnumbering decliners by a 1.7-to-1 ratio.

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The financials group, which accounts for more than a third of the index's weight, gained 0.6 per cent as Brookfield Asset Management Inc added 2.8 per cent to C$55.25 and Bank of Nova Scotia rose 1.2 per cent to C$82.78.

The energy group, another major force on the index, added 0.4 per cent, with Suncor Energy Inc up 1.3 per cent at C$44.11 and pipeline operator Enbridge Inc.

Oil prices climbed more than 1 per cent due to a threatened strike in Nigeria and as traders cover shorts after sharp losses the previous day brought on by an unexpectedly large rise in U.S. stocks of refined fuels.

BlackBerry Ltd rose 1.2 per cent to C$13.21 after announcing it would expand its partnership with chipmaker Qualcomm into automotive systems on a non-exclusive basis.

Dollarama Inc jumped 5.3 per cent to C$157.61 after the discount store chain announced a share buyback plan and as a string of analysts adjusted their price targets on the stock following earnings that topped expectations on Wednesday.

Industrials, led by gains for the country's two main railway companies, rose 0.7 per cent, while Westjet Airlines Ltd added 2.9 per cent to C$27.16 after RBC raised its price target on the stock after its Wednesday announcement of a joint venture with Delta Air Lines.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.7 per cent.

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Emera Inc fell 3.0 per cent to C$47.83 after the energy company announced a bought deal to raise at least C$700-million.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc rose 5.4 per cent, recovering from a fall on Wednesday after announcing the pricing on its latest debt issuance.

Wall Street closes higher on big tech boost

Wall Street rose on Thursday, buoyed by popular technology companies including Facebook and Alphabet, while shares of yoga pants seller Lululemon Athletica also worked up a sweat.

Facebook climbed 2.31 per cent, while Google parent-company Alphabet added 1.23 percent, helping the S&P 500 end higher after the index lost ground for four straight sessions.

"Technology once again is leading the way here," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

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The top-performing sector this year, the S&P 500 information technology index <.SPLRCT> had fallen nearly 3 per cent since Nov. 28, with some investors cautious about high earnings multiples.

Lululemon jumped 6.43 per cent after the Canadian apparel maker reported a higher-than-expected profit and gave an upbeat holiday season forecast.

General Electric increased about 0.3 per cent after the industrial conglomerate said it was cutting 12,000 jobs at its global power business.

Strong earnings and expectations of corporate tax cuts promised by President Donald Trump have pushed stocks up to record levels this year.

The Senate Republicans on Wednesday agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on the tax bill amid early signs that lawmakers could agree on a final bill ahead of a self-imposed Dec. 22 deadline.

Thursday's stock gains suggested investors were not overly worried about a deadline on Friday night faced by Trump and Congress to pass fresh spending legislation. If they cannot agree on the terms, parts of the federal government could shut down.

"Market participants are looking past the government shutdown," said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors in Florham Park, New Jersey. "It's a risk-on mood through the last trading session. That will continue into the weekend."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 0.29 per cent to end at 24,211.48 points, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 0.29 per cent to 2,636.98.

The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 0.54 per cent to 6,812.84.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with industrial <.SPLRCI> and materials indexes <.SPLRCM> leading the gainers.

The S&P 500 consumer staples index <.SPLRCS> fell 0.93 per cent, hurt by drops of at least 1.2 per cent in Procter & Gamble , Pepsico and Coca-Cola .

LendingClub plunged 15.53 per cent after the online lender lowered its quarterly revenue forecast.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a rapid tightening of the labour market.

The report comes ahead of more comprehensive government payrolls data on Friday that would be used by investors to gauge the strength of the labour market at a time when the Federal Reserve is almost certain to raise U.S. interest rates next week.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.70-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.75-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.6 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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