TORONTO — Cannabis shares and resource stocks helped drive Canada's main stock index to a record close on Wednesday, the first day of trading after Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 37.86 points to 16,203.13, besting the previous record set Dec. 21. It had earlier reached a record intraday high of 16,207.52.
"The market is just grinding higher," said Allan Small, a senior investment adviser with HollisWealth, adding he's seeing positive signs throughout the Toronto market.
"For me, I think the start of 2018 is going to be pretty good. I think we're going to take right off from where we finish in 2017."
Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) helped push the health sector index six per cent higher by posting a more than 20 per cent gain on Wednesday.
Shares in Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE) and Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) both rose by more than three per cent to lead the energy index 1.6 per cent higher.
That was in spite of the February crude oil contract settling at US$59.64 per barrel, down 33 cents, after touching US$60 a barrel Tuesday for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Materials jumped as both Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) and Agrium (TSX:AGU) eked out gains on news their merger has received its last needed regulatory approval and they will be united as Nutrien.
The stock is to begin trading on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges starting on Jan. 2 under the symbol NTR.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 28.09 points to 24,774.30.
The S&P 500 index was up 2.12 points to 2,682.62 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 3.09 points to 6,939.34.
"Trading is obviously very light, but the market is certainly going out on a high as we head into the end of the year," said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
The Canadian dollar closed at an average trading price of 79.11 cents US, up 0.73 of a U.S. cent.
The February natural gas contract settled at US$2.73 per mmBTU, up 7.8 cents.
The February gold contract was up $3.90 to US$1,291.40 an ounce and the March copper contract was unchanged at US$3.28 a pound.
With a file from The Associated Press
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The Canadian Press