Skip to main content

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, file photo, trader Peter Tuchman watches a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell, as the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted as much as 460 points in afternoon trading, then clawed back much of the ground it lost. Europe’s economy is sputtering, oil prices are falling and stocks are swinging wildly. And Wall Street’s long dormant “fear index” predicts more turbulence ahead. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)The Associated Press

The S&P 500 had its best day of the year as investors applauded solid earnings from U.S. companies and economic growth in China.

It was the fourth straight gain for the index, which climbed 37 points, or 2 per cent, to 1,941.

The market has now clawed back much of the ground it lost over the last two weeks. The S&P 500 is still 3.5 per cent below the all-time high it reached in mid-September.

Apple rose 3 per cent after predicting strong holiday sales, and Harley-Davidson jumped 7 per cent after its results beat analysts' forecasts.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 215 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 16,614.

The Nasdaq composite rose 103 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 4,419.

The Toronto stock market powered ahead to a solid gain for a fourth straight session, supported in part by a well-received earnings report from Canadian Pacific Railway and data that showed Chinese economic growth slid to a five-year low in the latest quarter but was within expectations.

The S&P/TSX composite index jumped 209.94 points to 14,547.71 as traders continued to snap up stocks beaten down over the course of a market sell-off that started last month, sparked in part by worries about the state of the global economy.

But analysts say it would be a mistake to think that the market's retracement has run its course and that indexes will resume going more or less straight up.

"You will see more volatility, bigger swings in the markets and more emphasis on the news that comes through," said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer for Sun Life Global Investment.

"(It will be) more of a see-saw environment. But we still think it's a see-saw heading upwards."

The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.44 of a cent to 89.06 cents (U.S.).

Data showing U.S. homes sold in September at their fastest clip this year helped send New York indexes sharply higher as the Dow Jones industrials surged 215.14 points to 16,614.81, the Nasdaq soared 103.41 points to 4,419.48 and the S&P 500 index jumped 37.27 points to 1,941.28.

Canadian Pacific Railway's quarterly net income was up 23 per cent from a year ago to $400-million or $2.31 per share, missing estimates of $2.35 a share. CP also said that revenue came in at $1.67-billion, up nine per cent but missing estimates of $1.69-billion. The railway's operating ratio, a key efficiency metric, improved more than expected to a record low of 62.8. CP shares climbed $2.93 cent to $224.58.

Canadian National Railway missed earnings estimates. It reported after the close that adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.04, a penny short of expectations and reaffirmed its financial outlook. Its operating ratio also improved, falling to 58.8 from 59.8 per cent.

Commodity prices also advanced Tuesday even as China's economic growth slowed to 7.3 per cent last quarter. That is lower than the 7.5 per cent rate that had been targeted by Chinese leaders, who are trying to steer China toward growth based on domestic consumption instead of overreliance on trade and investment.

But the number was broadly in line with expectations and higher than some estimates that had pegged growth at 7.2 per cent for the quarter.

Most TSX sectors advanced with the base metals sector in the lead, rising three per cent as December copper was ahead four cents to $3.03 (U.S.) a pound.

The energy sector was up 2.1 per cent even as the November crude contract, which expired Tuesday, rose 10 cents to $82.81 a barrel. The December contract ran up 58 cents to $82.49.

Financial stocks were a major source of support with the sector ahead 1.25 per cent.

The gold sector was the only decliner, down about one per cent while December gold rose $7 to $1,251.70 an ounce.