By Fergal Smith
(Reuters) – Canada’s main stock index rose on Monday for a fourth straight day as Barrick Gold Corp reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and oil prices rebounded, while investors grew optimistic that interest rates are nearing a peak.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended 49.04 points, or 0.25%, higher at 19,669.17, after touching its highest intraday level since mid-June at 19,768.01.
Stock markets globally have rallied in recent weeks after being buffeted this year by geopolitical uncertainty and central bank interest rate hikes to tackle soaring inflation.
“We’re very bullish and optimistic only because we think the bulk of the interest rates increases have happened,” said Lorne Steinberg, president, Lorne Steinberg Wealth Management Inc. “Inflation should probably start to taper off towards the end of the year.”
U.S. inflation data, due on Wednesday, could offer clues on the Federal Reserve policy outlook. Investors are bracing for another outsized interest rate hike from the central bank in September after data on Friday showing robust U.S. job growth.
Barrick rose 3.3% after reporting a quarterly profit that beat analysts’ estimates, while the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 2.1%.
The energy sector ended up 0.6% as oil prices rebounded from a six-month low they hit on Friday. U.S. crude oil futures settled 2% higher at $90.76 a barrel.
Cenovus Energy Inc rose 3.4% after the company said it will buy the remaining 50% stake it does not already own in Ohio-based BP-Husky Toledo Refinery for $300 million from British energy firm BP PLC.
Heavily weighted financials dipped 0.3% but have still rebounded 7.5% from their July low.
“We remain very bullish on the financial sector and bank stocks which have lagged,” Steinberg said. “Loan losses should continue to be pretty minimal.”
(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Johann M. Cherian and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Cynthia Osterman)