TSX rises on gains in financial and materials sectors; U.S. down on day

TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index rose to within striking distance of an all-time high, while U.S. markets fell on disappointing bank results.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 34.93 points to 16,515.46, after hitting an intraday high of 16,532.67. That’s just 35 points off the peak reached last July, before falling on a late-year selloff.

It’s not unreasonable for the market to set a new high at some point this year but the 15 per cent increase in the first few months of the year is unlikely to repeat itself, said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets strategist for Edward Jones.

“Whether or not that comes in the very near-term or as we advance more broadly is yet to be determined but when we look at our outlook for equity markets from here, it’s largely going to be driven again over a broader period by the combination of economic growth and earnings growth,” he said in an interview.

“And as we look at both of those factors I’d say they still remain more supportive for equity markets than punitive.”

First-quarter results provide a “pivotal snapshot” for markets about whether they can maintain momentum into the spring and summer months, he added.

Initial bank results last Friday beat expectations but reports Monday from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup disappointed analysts.

That sent U.S. markets lower.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 27.53 points at 26,384.77. The S&P 500 index was down 1.83 points at 2,905.58, while the Nasdaq composite was down 8.15 points at 7,976.01.

In Canada, the TSX rose on the back of gains from financials and materials, two sectors that together account for almost half of the market.

Materials rose despite lower metals prices. The June gold contract was down US$3.90 at US$1,291.30 an ounce and the May copper contract was down 1.1

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