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Big Hike for Stocks Heading into Long Weekend

May 19, 2017 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) --

Equities in Toronto rallied on Friday ahead of the Victoria Day holiday long weekend, propelled in part by gains in banking stocks and oil and gas companies.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index galloped 141.65 points to greet noon Friday at 15,481.85

The Canadian dollar hiked 0.36 cents to 73.84 cents U.S.

The five most influential movers on the index were all banking issues, with Toronto Dominion Bank, for example, rose 54 cents to $63.07.

Home Capital Group, which has been struggling to finance its assets after Canada's biggest securities regulator accused the company of making misleading statements to investors, rose 38 cents, or 4.3%, to $9.25 after it reported a rise in its savings deposit balances.

The energy group climbed, with Canadian Natural Resources advancing 44 cents, or 1.1% to $41.88. Oil and gas producers were partly bolstered by higher oil prices, which were headed towards its second week of gains

Potash Corp advanced 67 cents, or 3.1%, to $22.29 as the fertilizer producer's chief executive said a change in SQM's governance that gave Potash greater influence, did not reflect its intent to raise its stake in the Chilean lithium producer.

Canadian National Railway added $1.25, or 1.3%, to $101.19, while the overall industrial sector rose.

Economically speaking, Statistics Canada reported this country's consumer price index gained 1.6% on a year-over-year basis in April, matching the increase in March. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, CPI was up 0.5% in April, after decreasing 0.2% in March.

Elsewhere, retail sales rose 0.7% in March to $48.3 billion, following a 0.4% decline in February, and on the strength of higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers. Sales were up in six of 11 sub-sectors, representing 53% of total retail trade.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange regained 1.58 points to 802.46

All but one of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher midday, as energy gushed 1.8%, materials were better by 1.1%, and financials were richer 0.9%.

The lone laggard was in health-care, down 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities traded higher on Friday as traders hoped that concerns around Donald Trump's presidency may have been exaggerated.

The Dow Jones Industrials Average strengthened 143.33 points to 20,806.35, with Boeing and Caterpillar contributing the most gains.

The S&P 500 vaulted 19.41 points to 2,385.05, with information technology leading advancers. Industrials were also among the best performers, as shares of Deere rose more than 7% after posting quarterly results that easily beat expectations.

The NASDAQ rocketed 43.41 points to 6,098.54.

Trump made his first trip overseas since taking office on Friday, first traveling to Saudi Arabi, which is planning to buy billions of dollars worth of U.S. arms.

In economic news, there were no major data released Friday. However, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said the central bank's plans to raise rates may be too fast.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note were slightly lower, raising yields to 2.25% from Thursday's 2.23%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained $1.04 at $50.39 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices slumped 20 cents at $1,252.60 U.S. an ounce.

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