TSX nears record, bolstered by strong results, Aecon deal

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark stock index resumed its upward march on Thursday, propelled by a batch of earnings and CCC International Holding Ltd’s acquisition of Aecon Group Inc, although a drop in gold prices tempered gains.

FILE PHOTO: A sign board displaying Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) stock information is seen in Toronto June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

Suncor Energy was the most influential positive mover on the index, rising 2.3 percent to C$43.10 after it reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit.

Oil and gas companies as a whole climbed 1.0 percent.

Aecon Group surged 19.4 percent to C$19.73 on news it agreed to be bought by the Chinese construction firm.

The overall industrials sector rallied broadly as well, climbing 1.5 percent. Waste Connection Inc jumped 3.7 percent to C$92.80 after it reported results and announced a dividend hike.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index rose 36.86 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 15,891.63. At one point, the index came within 30 points of the 15,943.09 record reached in February.

Six of the index’s 10 primary sectors advanced.

“We’re so close to breaking the high. But on a relative basis, the U.S. market has done better and will probably do better, because most of them are less resource-oriented,” said Irwin Michael, portfolio manager at ABC Funds.

Michael added that strong earnings reported by and Alphabet Inc after markets closed on Thursday would likely push the U.S. markets to new highs on Friday.

“The sentiment will probably help drag up the Canadian market,” he said.

The weighty financials rose 0.5 percent, with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd up 3.8 percent at C$664.42.

Tech stocks advanced 0.8 percent.

Materials, made up of resource-based firms, lost 1.8 percent.

Barrick Gold Corp sank 7.7 percent to C$18.64 after disappointing results and uncertainty surrounding its Tanzania gold mine, embroiled in a multi-billion dollar tax dispute.

Teck Resources Ltd slumped 8.4 percent to C$26.81 after reporting third-quarter results that missed expectations and forecasting softer prices for its coal in the fourth quarter.

Adding to the pressure was a drop in bullion prices.

“Gold was down $10 - it did break some interest support here,” said Brandon Michael, an analyst at ABC Funds. “We’re not too excited about that sector.”

Tempering some of the mining losses was a 3.8 percent jump to C$58.33 by Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd on strong results.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 127 to 113, for a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the upside. Twenty-three issues touched new 52-week highs, while 10 hit new lows.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Peter Cooney