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Energy stocks push Toronto stock market higher, loonie trades lower

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock exchange. North American markets dipped lower on Thursday.

TORONTO – The Toronto Stock market ended your day higher on Thursday, helped by strength within the energy stocks as some big names within the sector announced plans to cut costs in releasing their quarterly results.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 80.98 points to 14,382.78 as Suncor Energy said it plans to cut its capital spending and Cenovus Energy slashed its dividend and announced job cuts.

Roland Chalupka, chief investment officer of Fiduciary Trust Canada, a unit of Franklin Templeton Investments, said investors are looking for oil company earnings to improve in the third quarter because the year-over-year comparison begins to reflect the slide in oil prices that began in July 2014.

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\”Oil investors happen to be punished in recent months and I think this is a little bit of somewhat unexpected good news that the worst is over,\” he explained.

Cenovus said in the earnings set of Thursday that it\’ll cut 300 to 400 workers from its Calgary office, along with 800 positions it eliminated in February, as well as reduce its dividend by 40 per cent.

Suncor said it will trim capital spending by $400 million for the year because it announced its quarterly results on Thursday.

 

The energy sector from the TSX gained 0.94 per cent on the day. The price of oil has fallen by over fifty percent since this time this past year.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.41 points to 17,745.98, as the Nasdaq climbed 17.05 points to 5,128.78 and the S&P 500 slipped 0.06 points to 2,108.63.

The loonie fell 0.4 of the cent to 76.86 cents U.S. as the greenback gained strength from positive economic data.

On Thursday, the American government said its GDP rose in an annualized 2.3 per cent in the second quarter and revised its estimate for that first quarter from a small loss to some larger gain.

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\”It\’s less a Canadian dollar weakness story because it is a U.S. dollar strength story,\” Chalupka said.

The Canadian dollar could hold steady only at that rate so long as economic growth stays relatively in line with American results, he said, but the spread could widen as the U.S. central bank looks to boost interest rates within the fall.

On the commodity markets, the September agreement for crude oil fell 27 cents to US$48.52, while the September gas contract fell 9.6 cents to US$2.768.

The December gold contract, which showed the most heavy volume of trading, slipped US$4.60 to US$1,088.70.

Gold miners Goldcorp Inc., Kinross Gold and Agnico Eagle all promised to cut costs and concentrate on efficiency as they reported quarterly earnings this week. The gold sector is feeling the results of the continued slide from the commodity, that has lost 40 percent of its value since 2011.