By Shashwat Chauhan
(Reuters) -Toronto’s main stock index rose to two-week high on Monday as higher commodity prices lifted materials and energy stocks, while investors awaited a slew of economic data coming in this week from Canada and the United States.
At 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 179.15 points, or 0.9%, at 20,014.9, touching its highest since August 15.
Energy stocks added 1.7% as oil prices rose after China halved stamp duty on stock trading in its latest attempt to boost the struggling market. [O/R]
China’s finance ministry said in a brief statement on Sunday it was reducing the 0.1% duty on stock trades “in order to invigorate the capital market and boost investor confidence”.
Wall Street also had an upbeat start to the week with the benchmark S&P 500 index adding 0.6%. [.N]
“It still feels like you don’t want to buy Chinese equities directly because there’s still a lot of uncertainty there,” said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments.
“But adding some of the derivative aspects might be more palatable for a lot of investors.”
The materials sector, which houses Canada’s major mining firms, added 1.3%, tracking higher metal prices. [GOL/] [MET/L]
Heavyweight financials rose 1.0%, while technology sector gained 0.2% as bond yields eased.
Despite gains in the session, the benchmark index is set to record its worst monthly performance for August in the last eight years as a recent surge in bond yields and negative sentiment around top commodities consumer China weighed on the resources-heavy index.
Looking ahead, Canada’s second-quarter gross domestic product report, due later in the week, is likely to show a sharp slowdown in domestic economic growth, a Reuters poll of economists showed.
Major Canadian Banks, including Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia and National Bank of Canada, are also scheduled to report their quarterly earnings this week.
Among individual stocks, BlackBerry fell 1.6%, a day after rallying more than 17%.
(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shweta Agarwal)