TSX Hits Fresh Closing High

The Canadian benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index extended its record breaking run to yet another session, thanks to positive reaction to the economic data from the U.S. and China.

The index ended up 74.25 points, or 0.42%, at 17,559.02, after hitting a fresh record high at 17,572.15.

Healthcare and consumer discretionary shares were among the prominent gainers. A few top shares from utilities, telecommunications, financial, information technology, real estate and industrial sections too posted sharp gains. Energy stocks were weak while materials and consumer staples shares were a bit subdued.

Ballard Power Systems (BLDP.TO) soared more than 9% on strong volumes. First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) gained 3.1%, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) advanced nearly 3% and Aphria (APHA.TO) gained 1.6%.

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO), up 1.3%, was another stock to move higher on impressive volumes.

Among the major losers, Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) plunged more than 9%, Bombardier Inc. (BBD.B.TO) ended down 8.2% and Encana Corporation (ECA.TO) declined 4.1%.

Data released by Statistics Canada this morning said Canadian investors increased their holdings in foreign securities to $5.5 billion in November as Canadian investors resumed their purchases of foreign equities.

Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by $1.8 billion, the first decline in four months.

U.S. stocks stayed positive due largely to data that showed Chinese GDP growth matched economist estimates. Data from the Commerce Department showing housing starts skyrocketed by 16.9% in December aided sentiment.

The major averages reached new record closing highs. The Dow edged up 0.2%, the Nasdaq climbed 0.3% and the S&P 500 moved up 0.4%.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher. The major European markets also ended higher.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended at $58.54 a barrel, gaining 2 cents for the session. Oil futures rose to $58.98 a barrel earlier in the session.

Gold futures for February ended up $9.80, or about 0.6%, at $1,560.30 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended up $0.134 at $18.073 an ounce, while Copper futures for March ended at $2.8455 per pound, down $0.0015 from previous close.

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