Toronto market ends higher as commodity prices climb

FILE PHOTO: The facade of the original Toronto Stock Exchange building is seen in Toronto

By Khushi Singh and Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's main stock index rose on Monday as higher commodity prices boosted resource shares and the market transitioned to a faster trade settlement standard, while investors looked ahead to bank earnings reports this week.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index ended up 52.51 points, or 0.2%, at 22,373.38, moving closer to the record closing high it posted last Tuesday at 22,468.16.

Trading volume was lower than usual with U.S. markets closed for the Memorial Day holiday.

"The U.S. is closed, commodities are running and investors are waiting for bank earnings across the rest of the week, so there is good reason for optimism in the Canadian market today," said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

The materials group, which includes metal miners and fertilizer companies, gained 1.2% as gold prices rose.

"We expect gold prices to stay volatile, and price setbacks to be shallow, targeting gold prices to test new record highs later this year," UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

Energy also advanced, gaining 0.3%, as the price of oil increased 1.1% to $78.55 a barrel.

Canada, Mexico and Argentina started to settle securities trades in one day rather than two, in a move designed to reduce counterparty risk and improve market liquidity. U.S. markets will move to the new standard, commonly called T+1, on Tuesday.

Canadian wholesale trade rose 2.8% in April from March, largely driven by higher sales in the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector, a preliminary estimate showed.

Bank of Nova Scotia is due to report quarterly earnings on Tuesday, while some of Canada's other major banks report later in the week.

On Thursday, Toronto-Dominion Bank reported better-than-expected earnings even as its U.S segment struggled amid probes related to its anti-money laundering program.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto and Khushi Singh; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Jonathan Oatis)