Toronto market starts month strongly as pandemic threat fades

·2-min read
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 Monday to near a record high as investors grew more optimistic the global economy was moving past the coronavirus pandemic, with the index adding to strong gains in October.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 209.94 points, or 1%, at 21,247.01, just shy of last Monday's record closing high at 21,284.84.

The index advanced 4.8% in October, its biggest monthly gain in 11 months.

"COVID is starting to be in the rearview mirror and that is giving people optimism," said Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at BMO Asset Management.

"It possibly means that all that pent-up savings will slowly start to be spent. You are starting to see the (economic) reopening, which means people are going back to work," Adatia added.

Canadian manufacturing activity grew in October at the fastest pace in seven months as a pickup in new orders and hiring offset mounting supply chain pressures, data showed.

Wall Street also rose as investors looked ahead to a major Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

Among the strongest-performing sectors was energy. It ended 1.9% higher as oil prices jumped on expectations of strong demand.

U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.6% higher at $84.05 a barrel.

Information technology advanced 2%, while healthcare ended up 3.1%, helped by gains for cannabis stocks.

Shares of alternative fuel systems manufacturer Westport Fuel Systems Inc jumped 15.7% to their highest in nearly two months. Home Capital Group Inc ended 5.6% higher after brokerage BMO raised its rating and price target.

Cargojet Inc was among the biggest decliners, ending 5.5% lower. The air cargo service provider reported a surprise loss in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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