TORONTO, Mar. 1 (Xinhua) -- Canada's main stock market in Toronto ended a run of five straight losing sessions on Wednesday, as strong gains in Financials and Material groups contributed to the index posting its highest single-day gain since Sepember.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite jumped 200.44 points, or 1.30 percent, to end the day at 15,599.68 points. Nine of the ten sub-groups gained ground on the day with 199 out of 248 stocks finishing higher.
Canada's financial sector benefited as New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said in an interview that tightening monetary policy was 'a lot more compelling' two weeks prior to the Federal Open Market Committee will meet to determine if a change in the interest rate is needed. Meanwhile, San Francisco's Fed president said on Tuesday that there will be 'serious consideration' of an interest rate hike.
As the result, the Financials group ascended 1.53 percent on the day. With nearly 10.9 million shares exchanged on the day the top traded stock was Canada's largest insurance Manulife Financial. The Toronto-based firm gained 2.57 percent to close at 24.34 Canadian dollars (18.30 U.S. dollars) a share. Meanwhile, Montreal-based National Bank of Canada shares gained 1.73 percent to 57.66 Canadian dollars (43.24 U.S. dollars) after posting better than expected quarterly profits.
Meanwhile, the Canadian central bank announced that the overnight lending rate would remain at 0.5 percent. This decision was expected and continues the streak of no increase in the benchmark rate since 2010.
The Materials and Industrials group also posted sharp gains, rising 2.34 percent and 1.99 percent, respectively.
Materials gained despite the spot price of gold losing 60 cents per ounce to 1,248 U.S. dollars. Shares of Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's largest producer of gold, rose 2.94 percent to 25.23 Canadian dollars (18.92 U.S. dollars), while Vancouver-based gold miner B2Gold Corp. leaped 4.17 percent to 4.25 Canadian dollars (3.19 U.S. dollars).
Copper gained for a second straight day, rising 0.77 percent to 2.7276 U.S. dollars a pound. As a result, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and Lundin Mining Corporation shares surged 14.81 percent and 6.26 percent, respectively.
The TSX Industrials group was powered by a 4.35 percent increase in shares of Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. Shares of the planes and train maker closed the session at 2.40 Canadian dollars (1.80 U.S. dollars).
Other groups to finish the day higher were: Information Technology (1.50 percent), Energy (1.45 percent), Consumer Discretionary (1.30 percent), Consumer Staples (1.14 percent), Health Care (0.68 percent), and Utilities (0.38 percent).
Energy was fuelled by Calgary-based Encana Corporation and Crescent Point Energy Corp. shares climbing 4.55 percent and 4.04 percent, respectively. Group leader Suncor Energy Inc. gained up 0.85 percent to 41.70 Canadian dollars (31.27 U.S. dollars) a share. The price of Brent crude oil for May delivery ticked down 19 cents to 56.32 U.S. dollars a barrel.
The lone group that failed to advance on Wednesday was Telecommunications, which inched down 0.07 percent.
The Canadian dollar retreated 0.31 cents to finish the day at 0.7499 U.S. dollars.