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S&P/TSX composite gains almost 200 points as oil rises, U.S. markets hit new highs

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index gained almost 200 points on Friday, helped by strength in energy stocks as the price of oil moved higher, while U.S. markets closed out the week with new record highs for the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

New data on the U.S. economy came in weaker than expected on Friday, helping bolster expectations for interest rate cuts to begin in the summer.

Treasury yields moved lower after the reports on manufacturing and consumer sentiment came out, one day after an important measure of inflation came in line with expectations.

“A big part of the market has been quite glass half full, despite having to deal with some mixed ... or continued challenging economic data that's been coming out,” said Ryan Crowther, portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Canada.

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“Maybe that's not surprising, just given you've had so much focus on the Nvidia earnings and then the way that played out,” he said, referring to last week’s earnings report that pushed U.S. markets to new heights.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 90.99 points at 39,087.38. The S&P 500 index was up 40.81 points at 5,137.08,while the Nasdaq composite was up 183.02 points at 16,274.94 as artificial intelligence continued to drive strength in the tech sector. Dell Technologies saw its stock leap almost 32 per cent after its earnings report came in stronger than expected.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 188.74 points at 21,552.35.

The TSX rose on the back of commodities, particularly oil, said Crowther. Oil briefly tipped over US$80 per barrel during the day for the first time since early November.

The TSX energy index rose almost two per cent Friday.

That strength is likely due to ongoing geopolitical tension as well as anticipation over potential cuts by OPEC, Crowther said.

Gold also rose on the back of the weaker economic data, he added.

As earnings season winds down, Crowther said it’s been overall solid on both sides of the border.

“It’s been mixed but overall, I would say positive in terms of what we've seen companies be able to deliver in a continually challenging environment.”

The Canadian dollar traded for 73.72 cents US compared with 73.69 cents US on Thursday.

The April crude contract was up US$1.71 at US$79.97 per barreland the April natural gas contract was down three cents at US$1.84 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was up US$41 at US$2,095.70 an ounce and the May copper contract was up a penny at US$3.86 a pound.

-- With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press