Canada's main stock market in Toronto rose to its highest closing of 2016 on Tuesday, as shares in energy companies and bank stocks retained positive momentum after the Victoria Day holiday on Monday, Xinhua reported.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index gained 33.27 point, or 0.24 percent, to close at 13,952.85 points. Seven of the TSX index's eight main sub-sectors were higher.
Oil prices ended higher on Tuesday as investors were awaiting the closely-watched U.S. government data due out later this week.
The West Texas Intermediate for July delivery added 54 cents to settle at 48.62 U.S. dollars a barrel, while Brent crude for July delivery increased 26 cents to close at 48.61 dollars a barrel.
Energy companies on TSX index were broadly higher when oil is marching higher as the market is showing signs of coming back into balance, and Canadian names in particular are benefiting because they are all starting to restart idled production lost to the devastating wildfire in northern Alberta.
Among the major gainers, Suncor Energy Inc. went up 2.58 percent to 35.39 Canadian dollars (26.92 U.S. dollars) while Canadian Natural Resources Limited was up 0.53 percent to 38.12 Canadian dollars.
Financials were also up in part because of speculation that the U.S. central bank is getting ready to hike interest rates again at some point, something which would be good for banks.
"In two separate speeches yesterday U.S. Federal Reserve officials both hinted that an interest rate hike in the U.S. will come sooner than later, with one official calling for two or three rate hikes this year," said Michael J Smith, a Toronto currency expert at AFEX, a global non-bank provider of foreign currency services.
All five of Canada's biggest banks had higher stock prices on Tuesday. Toronto-Dominion Bank advanced 0.88 percent to 57.0 Canadian dollars, and Bank of Nova Scotia added 1.05 percent to 63.76 Canadian dollars to lead a gain among the big banks, while Royal Bank of Canada went up 0.86 percent to 78.52 Canadian dollars.
The nation's largest lenders now sit at the highest level in a year before Bank of Montreal kicks off the second-quarter earnings schedule on Wednesday. After a gloomy start to the year, analysts are expecting some strong showings, with possibly a few dividend hikes.
Bank of Canada, the country's central bank, is also set for its next policy decision on Wednesday, with the renewed speculation of an interest-rate increase at the Fed lowering the pressure on the central bank to cut its own lending rates to keep the currency competitive for exports.
Higher U.S. rates weaken the Canadian dollar, making this country more attractive for foreign investment.
Weighing on markets were gold issues, primarily Kinross Gold, falling 79 cents, or 12.15 percent, to 5.71 Canadian dollars, and Yamana Gold, off 60 cents, or 9.65 percent, to 5.62 Canadian dollars. Barrick Gold was also down 6.83 percent to 22.24 Canadian dollars.
Meanwhile, more than a third of Canadian homeowners polled in a recent survey say they were caught short at least once in the past year without enough money to cover their expenses.
According to Manulife Bank of Canada's spring debt survey, four percent of respondents said they found themselves in that situation almost every month, while 10 percent said it happened to them a few times in the past 12 months.
This low interest rate environment has fueled the real estate market to such an extent that many are now finding themselves house poor, living close to the margin with few funds set aside for an emergency such as a leaky roof or car problems -- let alone making a mortgage payment on time.
The survey also found that the average mortgage debt carried by respondents was 181,000 Canadian dollars, versus 175,000 Canadian dollars as of last fall.