Big Gains for TSX Heading into Canada Day

Health, Wealth Stocks Lead Pack

Perhaps as a prelude to the Canada Day festivities, markets in this country exuded positive vibes and shared them pretty much across the board on Wednesday.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index strengthened 74.36 points to finish Wednesday at 15,355.58

The Canadian dollar hiked 0.83 cents to 76.73 cents U.S.

Health-care stocks led the parade, as Valeant Pharmaceuticals climbed 42 cents, or 1.9%, to $22.30, while Canopy Growth Corporation took on 15 cents, or 1.9%, to $8.14.

Big financial stocks rose as investors increased their bets that the country's central bank may hike interest rates as soon as next month.

Royal Bank of Canada was up 99 cents, or 1.1%, at $95.09, and Bank of Montreal gained $1.35, or 1.4%, to $95.59.

Interest rate cuts in 2015 have done their job and the Bank of Canada needs to consider its options as excess capacity is used up, Bank Governor Stephen Poloz said in a CNBC interview in Europe.

In the energy field, Suncor Energy eked up a penny to $38.50 and Canadian Natural Resources gained 63 cents, or 1.7%, to $38.21.

On the other side of the ledger, Eldorado Gold lost 21 cents, or 5.7%, to $3.50 after reducing its 2017 outlook for production from its Kisladag operations in Turkey, while larger gold miners also fell.

Elsewhere in the gold mines, Goldcorp gave back 23 cents, or 1.3%, to $17.35

Utilities suffered, too, as Fortis Inc. dropped 12 cents to $46.41, while Hydro One let go of three cents to $23.09.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange fell 0.36 points to 769.50

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups remained positive on the day, as health-care sprouted 1%, financials jumped 0.9%, and energy hiked 0.7%.

The three laggards were gold, down 0.7%, utilities, fading 0.4%, and consumer staples, off 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities closed higher on Wednesday as bank stocks led the charge.

The Dow Jones Industrials continued its climb Wednesday, leaping 143.95 points to 21,454.61, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most gains. Caterpillar was the best-performing stock in the index, rising 2.4%.

The S&P 500 bounced higher 21.31 points to 2,440.69, with financials rising 1.5% to lead advancers. The index also notched its biggest one-day gain since late April.

The NASDAQ rocketed 87.79 points, or 1.4%, to 6,234.41

Banks spiked 1.4% as investors braced for the release of the Federal Reserve's stress test results.

Analysts expect several big banks to come out of the test with substantial increases in return to shareholders — potentially using cash reserves to pay out more than 100% of their profits. As a result, higher figures would also reflect banks' confidence in their own
financial health.

Financials entered Wednesday's session as the second-best-performing sector over the past month, rising 2.4% amid the prospects of higher interest rates.

Most of tech rebounded Wednesday with Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Netflix all trading higher. Shares of Amazon briefly dipped lower after President Donald Trump took a swipe at CEO Jeff Bezos on Twitter.

The tech sector has been the stalwart of the U.S. stock market, rising about 17% for the year. But the tech sector dropped 1.6% Tuesday.

Financials entered Wednesday's session as the second-best-performing sector over the past month, rising 2.4% amid the prospects of higher interest rates. Shares of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs both climbed more than 1%.

In economic news, mortgage applications fell 6% last week, while pending home sales fell for the third straight month in May.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note tailed off, raising yields to 2.22% from Tuesday’s 2.21%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 54 cents to $44.78 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices gained $3.50 to $1,250.40 U.S. an ounce.