Canada’s benchmark stock index rose on Friday, led by financial and energy shares as oil prices gained and a stronger-than-expected domestic jobs report added to the case for interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada. Canada’s job growth accelerated in May at its fastest pace in eight months, prompting economists to suggest the Bank of Canada could raise interest rates sooner than anticipated.Higher rates help reduce the value of insurance companies’ liabilities and increase net interest margins of banks.The country’s major banks were some of the most influential movers on the index. Royal Bank of Canada rose 1.4 percent to C$95.28, while the overall financials group gained 1 percent. The group also rose sharply on Thursday.Alternative lender Home Capital Group rose 7.8 percent to C$11.74 after a media report that it has attracted private equity bids.The report helped to boost confidence in financials, said Manash Goswami, senior vice president at First Asset ETFs.Energy shares climbed nearly 2 percent after a pipeline stoppage in Nigeria helped oil prices pare some of this week’s losses. U.S. crude oil futures settled 19 cents at $45.83 a barrel.
Encana Corp advanced 4.9 percent to C$12.63 after the oil and gas producer said it would sell its Piceance natural gas assets in northwestern Colorado to privately held Caerus Oil and Gas LLC for $735 million.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 50.12 points, or 0.32 percent, at 15,473.21.Just three of the index’s 10 main groups rose.The materials group, which includes precious and base metals, miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.8 percent as gold fell on a strong U.S. dollar.Enghouse Systems Ltd slumped 10.6 percent to C$55.00 after the company reported second-quarter earnings and revenue that missed analysts estimates, while the overall technology group fell 1.4 percent.
Losses for the sector came as U.S. technology stocks sold off sharply.Department store operator Hudson’s Bay Co slumped 10.5 percent to C$8.61 after the owner of Saks Fifth Avenue detailed a major restructuring plan that will cut 2,000 jobs.Shares of Bombardier Inc also fell heavily, ending down 7.1 percent at C$2.37. The U.S. nternational Trade Commission gave a green light to the U.S. Commerce Department to begin preparing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties against new jets from the company.