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U.S. stocks ended higher on Friday and registered gains for the week as optimism over more federal fiscal aid grew. The TSX also posted gains, with the materials sector leading the advance thanks to a jump in gold stocks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 28.27 points, or 0.17%, to 16,562.81. Gold stocks dominated the top gainers. MTY Foods Group also had a very good day, rallying 15.57% on better than expected earnings.

Gold climbed more than 1% as the U.S. dollar retreated to a near three-week low and increased bets for fresh U.S. stimulus pushed investors to bullion as a hedge against likely inflation.

Spot gold rose 1.5% to $1,920.92 per ounce by 1:31 p.m. EDT, en route to a second straight weekly gain, of about 1.2%. U.S. gold futures settled up 1.6% at $1,926.20.

In the U.S. talks were expected to continue on a COVID-19 stimulus package, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed on Friday to reach agreement.

Mnuchin floated a new proposal Friday afternoon, but an aide for Pelosi said it lacked a broad plan to contain the pandemic.

Recent trading on Wall Street has been dictated by headlines on fiscal aid, with the three main indexes tumbling on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump called off negotiations. He has since indicated he was willing to resume discussions.

“The market’s reacting well to Trump’s sudden turnaround in terms of a support package and this new package that he proposed that’s much larger than previously,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, New York.

“It probably shows some desperation on his part. A lot of this has been politics, but a lot of people believe the economy really needs some economic support here, so that’s a good thing.”

Technology shares rose, and the sector gave the S&P 500 its biggest boost.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 161.59 points, or 0.57%, to 28,587.1, the S&P 500 gained 30.29 points, or 0.88%, to 3,477.12 and the Nasdaq Composite added 158.96 points, or 1.39%, to 11,579.94.

Energy stocks fell following recent gains.

Strategists say investors have also begun to digest the possibility of Democratic candidate Joe Biden winning the Nov. 3 presidential election after a fractious debate last month led to a jump in his lead over Trump in several national polls.

Also see: Stocks that saw action Friday - and why

Reuters, Globe staff

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