Toronto stock market end fourday losing streak heads higher on rising crude

by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 6, 2016 9:18 am MDT Last Updated Apr 6, 2016 at 3:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Toronto stock market end four-day losing streak, heads higher on rising crude TORONTO – North American markets closed solidly higher Wednesday, helped by a sharp rise in oil prices amid reports of a big drop in U.S. stockpiles of crudeThe energy sector was among the biggest gainers on Toronto’s S&P/TSX composite index as the May contract for North American benchmark crude rose US$1.86 to US$37.75 a barrel.The resource-heavy Toronto Stock Exchange advanced 42.80 points to 13,347.46 to end four straight days of losses, while the loonie jumped 0.36 of a cent to 76.37 cents US.The U.S. Energy Information Administration said oil inventories fell by 4.9 million barrels last week, confounding analysts who had been expecting that stockpiles would rise.“It’s a big surprise drawdown,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets Canada. “Energy and energy stocks are the big turnaround story here.”Some analysts believe that oil inventories need to come down much more before crude prices can rise significantly.Meanwhile, speculation continues over whether oil-producing members of OPEC will agree to a output freeze at an upcoming meeting on April 17. Current prices are a far cry from the more than US$100 a barrel that oil sold for in 2014.Besides energy issues, the Toronto stock market was also propped up by a surge from the health-care sector as shares in Valeant Pharmaceuticals soared more than 18 per cent.The Montreal-based drug company said it is weeks away from hiring a new chief executive. The firm has been in the midst of several controversies over drug prices and its relationship with U.S. mail-order pharmacy Philidor and had announced last month the departure of its CEO Michael Pearson after eight years.Its shares climbed $7 to $44.77 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. At its peak in August, Valeant shares closed at $346.32.Elsewhere in commodities, the June gold contract lost $5.80 to US$1,223.80 a troy ounce, while the May copper contract was unchanged at US$2.14 a pound and the May natural gas contract lost four cents to US$1.91 per mmBTU.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 112.73 points to 17,716.05, while the broader S&P 500 climbed 21.49 points to 2,066.66 and the Nasdaq gained 76.79 points to 4,920.72.In economic news, minutes from the latest meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve showed that policy-makers grappled over how to respond to a slowing global economy. They ultimately decided to leave a key policy rate unchanged despite arguments by some officials that delaying further rate hikes could be risky.Minutes of the Fed’s March 15-16 meeting showed that several participants argued for “proceeding cautiously” with future rate hikes because of global risks such as weaker growth in China.— With a file from The Associated Press.Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story: A previous version gave incorrect figures for the TSX close