Canadian stocks rallied on Thursday, as rising commodity prices boosted the energy and mining sectors.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 187.89 points, or 1.6%, to end Thursday at 12,214.65
The Canadian dollar gained 0.92 cents, to climb back above parity with the American dollar at 100.54 cents U.S.
Gold shone particularly brightly, with Barrick Gold Corp. shares climbing 1.8% to $41.98.
Shares of Eldorado Gold Corp. rallied 11.3% to $14.37, after the company said it plans to invest almost $2 billion in development over the next five years to reach its gold production target of 1.7 million ounces annually by 2016, representing 160% growth.
Copper prices also advanced. Shares of First Quantum Minerals Ltd. leaped 4.5% to $22.54, and Teck Resources Ltd. jumped 4.4% to $36.93.
Capstone Mining Corp. shares jumped 9.5% to $3.10. The company reported first-quarter production of 18.6 million pounds of copper in concentrates. The company said its Cozamin mine produced a record amount of copper for the second straight quarter.
Energy stocks gained strength, as crude-oil futures gained ahead of talks over Iran's nuclear program this weekend. Shares of Suncor Energy Inc. gained 2.8% to $30.95, while Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. rose 4.2% to $33.01.
In earnings, Cogeco Cable Inc. shares slipped 2.2% to $50.60, after the company reported a decline in second-quarter profit from continuing operations. The cable distributor's revenue increased 8% but missed analysts' estimates.
Fibrek Inc.shares sank 8.7% to $1.05, after Resolute Forest Products — formerly known as AbitibiBowater Inc. — said it has acquired 46.8% ownership of the pulp producer by the offer's deadline late Wednesday through a hostile takeover bid.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. shares edged up 1.4% to $53.47, after the company said it bought U.S.-based Pedinol Pharmacal Inc. for about $27 million.
Economically speaking, Statistics Canada reported this morning that our merchandise exports declined 3.9% and imports edged up 0.2%. That means Canada's trade surplus decreased from $1.9 billion in January to $292 million in February.
The agency also told us that the new house prices hiked 0.3% in February, after a dip of 0.1% in January.
The TSX Venture Exchange gained 37.38 points to 1,472.50, while the Nasdaq Canada index strengthened 9.79 points to 409.01
All but two of the 14 Toronto subgroups were higher. Metals and mining flexed 4% worth of muscle, while global base metals climbed 3.7%, and gold gained 3%.
The two laggards were consumer staples, off 0.3%, and utilities, sliding 0.1%.
In New York, stocks moved higher for a second straight day Thursday as investors continued to recover from a modest pullback at the start of April.
The Dow Jones Industrials gained 181.19 points, or 1.4%, to close at 12,986.60
The S&P 500 soared 18.86 points to 1,387.57, and the Nasdaq added 39.09 points to 3,055.55
The gains came despite a fairly bland round of economic news Thursday morning. Initial unemployment filings rose a bit more than expected, while a separate report showed no change in wholesale prices.
But investors pushed stocks higher, recouping losses from earlier in the month, as they welcomed declining yields on Spanish and Italian bonds and geared up for the first-quarter reading on economic growth in China, due Friday.
Investors were also continuing to shift their focus to first-quarter corporate results.
Google was to announce its results after markets closed Thursday, while earnings from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are due Friday.
Shares of McKesson popped after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded the wholesale pharmaceutical company a contract worth about $4 billion a year to supply medication to VA facilities.
Hewlett-Packard's stock jumped following news that the company's PC sales in the United States grew by nearly 7% over the first quarter of 2011, outpacing every other competitor -- even mighty Apple -- according to estimates compiled by tech research firms Gartner and IDC.
Rite Aid shares fell slightly after the drugstore chain reported a quarterly loss of 18 cents U.S. a share on $7.1 billion U.S. in revenue, in line with expectations.
Shares of Royal Dutch Shell fell sharply after the company said it had activated an oil spill response vessel to investigate a "light sheen" of oil spotted in the Gulf of Mexico, but recovered a bit in later trading.
Sony said Thursday that it would be cutting 10,000 jobs during the 2012 fiscal year as it seeks to revitalize its struggling business. The electronics maker warned earlier this week that its annual loss would be twice as large as its prior forecast, blaming write-offs of deferred tax credits.
Oaktree Capital Group started trading under the ticker OAK after the asset management firm raised $378 million U.S. through an initial public offering Wednesday. Oaktree sold 8.8 million shares at $43 U.S. apiece, the low end of its estimated range. Shares of the company were lower in their stock market debut.
Economically speaking, the U.S. Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims rose unexpectedly to 380,000 in the latest week, up from a revised reading of 367,000, which was also revised higher.
But separate reports showed no increase in overall wholesale prices in March, which was better than the 0.2% increase forecast, and the nation's trade deficit declined unexpectedly in February.
The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was lower, raising yields to 2.05% from Wednesday's 2.03%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil for May delivery gained 91 cents to $103.61 U.S. a barrel.
Gold futures for April delivery rose $20.50 to $1,679.50 U.S. an ounce.