TORONTO, Oct. 17 -- Lifted by positive quarterly earnings results from key U.S. companies and better economic data, the Canadian stock market finished strong on Tuesday.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 177.74 points, or 1.45 percent, to 12,407.70, while the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index rose by 17.05 points, or 1.33 percent, to 1,299.78.
In the U.S. housing market, the National Association of Home Builders reported that builder confidence is up to 41 this month from 40 in September. The level is the highest since June, 2006, before the housing bubble burst.
U.S. factories production also grew by 0.4 percent last month, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, exceeding the 0.2 percent expected by economists.
Key U.S. companies, Johnson & Johnson, Intel Corp., Citigroup Inc., Apple Inc., and IBM Corp, all reported better third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, prompting Canadian stocks to rally throughout the trading day.
Gold managed to climb back from its recent losses, with gold giant Barrick Gold Corp earning 3 percent to 39.12 Canadian dollars per share. The firm's main competitor, Goldcorp, was also up by 1.6 percent to 43.27 Canadian dollars a share. Major gold miner, Kinross Gold, gained 1.9 percent to 10.18 Canadian dollars per share.
Energy issues continued to rise in the market, with Suncor Energy tacking on 2.4 percent to 33.18 Canadian dollars per share. Imperial Oil increased by 1.8 percent to 45.57 Canadian dollars a share, while Canadian Natural Resources shot up 2.6 percent to 30. 89 Canadian dollars a share.
Financials were among the index movers of the day, with Royal Bank of Canada gaining 1.08 percent to 57.86 Canadian dollars a share. Canada's second largest bank, TD Bank, was up 1 percent to 82.29 Canadian dollars per share. Meanwhile, the country's third largest bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, climbed 1.1 percent to 54.08 Canadian dollars a share.
Commodities improved on Tuesday, with crude oil up to 92.00 U.S. dollars a barrel, and gold prices increased to 1,749.20 U.S. dollars an ounce.
In corporate news, Canada's largest grocer, Loblaw Cos Ltd., announced on Tuesday it is planning to cut 700 head office and administrative jobs over a three-week period in order to save and reduce costs. The company, with more than 135,000 employees, is one of Canada's top private sector employers with more than 1,000 stores across the country. Loblaw said the cut will amount to a one-time charge of approximately 60 million Canadian dollars in the fourth quarter. On Tuesday, the company shares were up by 2.5 percent to 34.72 Canadian dollars per share.
On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday that foreign investors bought 6.9 billion Canadian dollars worth of Canadian securities in August, investing primarily in corporate bonds and dumping stocks. Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by 1.7 billion Canadian dollars, following three consecutive months of acquisition.
The agency also reported a 1.5 percent rise in manufacturing sales in August from July, to a total of 49.5 billion Canadian dollars, the highest level since March. In terms of volume, manufacturing sales increased by 1.8 percent in August, with petroleum, autos, coals and metals being the biggest drivers.
In currency, the Canadian dollar fell to its lowest in two weeks, and was at 1.0134 U.S. dollar at closing, 5 p.m. local time (2200 GMT), compared with 1.0204 U.S. dollar on Monday.