TSX ends higher but posts fourth straight weekly decline

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

By Johann M Cherian and Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's main stock index rose on Friday as commodity-linked stocks rallied and investors weighed a pause in U.S. debt ceiling talks, but the market still posted its fourth straight weekly decline.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 53.97 points, or 0.3%, at 20,351.06, preliminary data showed.

For the week, the index was down 0.3%. The four-week streak of weekly declines was the longest since May last year.

Meanwhile, Wall Street erased earlier gains as hopes were dampened that a U.S. debt ceiling deal could be reached soon to avoid a calamitous default.

"It's been a miserable week for the TSX," said Brandon Michael, a senior analyst at ABC Funds in Toronto. "It is unable to keep up with its counterparts south of the border, given its significant weights in cyclical stocks like banks and commodity-related sectors."

The resource and financial shares that dominate the Toronto market have been buffeted in recent months by a pullback in oil prices and stress in the U.S. regional banking sector.

The price of oil settled 0.4% lower at $71.55 a barrel on Friday but energy recouped some recent declines for a third straight day, rising 1.2%.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added 0.5% as gold and copper prices rose, while technology was up 0.8%.

Domestic data showed that retail sales fell by 1.4% in March from February, supporting a downbeat view on prospects for the economy.

"Further declines in consumer outlays are likely this year as households are squeezed by high interest rates, elevated inflation and job losses due to the recession we think will get underway in Q2," economists at Oxford Economics, including Tony Stillo, said in a note.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Johann M Cherian and Vansh Agarwal in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy)