Loonie climbs to highest level in 2016


In­vestors con­tin­ued to ride a wave of pos­i­tive sen­ti­ment fol­low­ing the lat­est com­ments from the U.S. Fed­eral Re­serve, with the Toronto stock mar­ket ad­vanc­ing for a third straight ses­sion Wed­nes­day and the Cana­dian dol­lar climb­ing to its highest level of the year.

The S&P/TSX com­pos­ite index added 77.75 points to 13,503.98, helped by gains in the fi­nan­cials and real estate sec­tors.

The loonie also con­tin­ued to strengthen, ris­ing 0.59 of a U.S. cent to 77.13 cents US, a day af­ter Fed chair­woman Janet Yellen said the cen­tral bank will pro­ceed with cau­tion on any in­ter­est rate hikes this year.

The dovish com­ments in which the Fed re­it­ereated its go-slow ap­proach on in­ter­est rates weighed on the U.S. cur­rency and helped buoy com­mod­ity mar­kets. The last time the Cana­dian dol­lar was at this level was in Oc­to­ber 2015.

“(The com­ments are) tak­ing some pres­sure off the U.S. dol­lar,” said Michael Green­berg, a port­fo­lio man­ager at Franklin Tem­ple­ton So­lu­tions.

“In the last lit­tle while, it has re­ally helped com­modi­ties, and com­mod­ity-re­lated cur­ren­cies like the Cana­dian dol­lar.”

Com­modi­ties were mixed as the May con­tract for North Amer­i­can bench­mark crude oil was up four cents at US$38.32 a bar­rel, while May nat­u­ral gas added two cents to US$2.00 per mmBtu. June gold fell $8.90 to US$1,228.60 an ounce and May cop­per slipped two cents to US$2.19 a pound.

Low in­ter­est rates have helped fuel strength in eq­uity mar­kets since the so-called Great Re­ces­sion, keep­ing money flow­ing into eq­uity mar­kets.

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