TSX notches record close on energy rally, but pares earlier gains

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s benchmark index squeezed out a record close for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, but was off earlier highs as a retreat in industrials, technology and banking stocks offset an energy rally.

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 rose 1.1 percent to C$44.26, while Encana Corp saw a 3.6 percent lift to end at C$15.63. Cenovus Energy added 3.9 percent to close at C$13.01.

The three companies were among the index’s most influential drivers and helped lift the overall energy sector to its fifth day of gains. The group, which was up 1.5 percent, has advanced more than 8 percent over that period.

Oil and gas companies were powered by crude prices, which touched their highest since mid-2015 earlier in the session. The commodity gave up those gains, however, after weekly U.S. government inventory data showed the latest crude stock draw was less than what an industry trade group had reported.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index finished up 3.74 points at its highest-ever close at 16,029.33. The index rose as high as 16,105.88 during the session, for its fourth-straight intraday record and was on track for its eighth straight week of gains.

Six of the index’s 10 biggest groups lost ground.

“We continue to see risk appetite staying healthy for equities,” said Kash Pashootan, chief executive and chief investment officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc.

“You have to be cautious in how you play this market. You have to build some defense in the portfolio, but not too much defense,” added Pashootan, whose portfolio has a 12 percent weighting in cash and 5 percent in gold.

Hudson’s Bay Co ended 9.1 percent higher at C$12.29 after it confirmed a Reuters report that Karstadt owner Signa had made an unsolicited offer for HBC’s European Kaufhof chain.

Industrials were down 0.8 percent, with Air Canada and WestJet Airlines both slumping more than 5.5 percent. Air Canada ended at C$24.10, while WestJet finished at C$25.50. Some analysts cut their WestJet price target and forecast on a disappointing outlook.

Shopify Inc fell 3.6 percent to 123.68, extending its post-earnings losses. The broader technology sector fell 1.7 percent.

Financial services dipped 0.2 percent, hurt in large part by a 5.6 percent drop to C$56.95 in Thomson Reuters Corp after it reported a revenue miss amid uncertainty in Europe.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the TSX by 138 to 104.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Peter Cooney