TORONTO – Enthusiasm over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to go slow on interest rate hikes helped lift the Toronto stock market to a triple-digit gain amid soaring commodity prices that saw oil settle above US$40 a barrel for the first time since early December.
At the close, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 143.17 points at 13,621.30. The bump came on the heels of the release Wednesday of the U.S. central bank’s outlook on rates, which was considered positive for both commodities and stock markets.
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The Fed’s move also breathed new life into the loonie, which managed to poke its head above 77 cents US before closing just shy of that mark, up 0.78 of a US cent at 76.99 cents.
The last time the Canadian dollar closed above the 77-cent mark was on Oct. 20, 2015 when it finished at 77.03 cents US.
On commodity markets, the April contract for benchmark North American crude closed up $1.74 at US$40.20, while April natural gas added seven cents to US$1.94 per mmBtu. April gold soared $35.20 to US$1,265.00 a troy ounce, while copper shot up six cents to US$2.29 a pound.
New York markets were also buoyed by the Fed news, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising 155.73 points to 17,481.49, while the S&P 500 rose 13.37 points to 2,040.59 and the Nasdaq composite edged up 11.02 points to 4,774.99.