TSX starts October with a gain but extends weekly losing streak

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: The facade of the original Toronto Stock Exchange building is seen in Toronto

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday as the prospect of the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 boosted the sectors that could benefit most from a recovery in economic growth, but the market still posted a decline for the week.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 80.62 points, or 0.4%, at 20,150.87. Wall Street also rose.

Gains for stocks came as experts hailed an experimental antiviral pill developed by Merck & Co as a potential breakthrough in how the COVID-19 virus is treated.

"Because we've been floundering for a few weeks, investors have seized on this as a potential catalyst to perhaps speed up the timeline of recovery from COVID," said Elvis Picardo, a portfolio manager at Luft Financial, iA Private Wealth.

"You are seeing the cyclicals move up nicely today."

The industrials and consumer discretionary groups both rose 0.9%, while the heavily-weighted financial services sector ended 0.7% higher.

Data showed that Canada's economy expanded 0.7% in August after a slight contraction in July.

Still, the Toronto market fell 1.2% for the week, its fourth straight weekly decline.

"The whole scare about inflation, investors might be taking it a little bit more seriously," Picardo said. "You have seen (bond) yields tick up, you've seen crude oil come back really strongly."

U.S. crude oil futures settled 1.1% higher at $75.88 a barrel on Friday, supported by tight supplies due to OPEC+ supply curbs.

The energy sector on the TSX rose 0.5%, while technology was up 0.6%.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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