TORONTO, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Canada's main stock market closed Wednesday with its sixth consecutive session of gains, as strong gains in energy and health care sectors contributed to the index finishing with its highest close since Feb. 23.
The Toronto Stock Exchange's benchmark Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite advanced 59.06 points, or 0.38 percent to finish the day at 15,657.63 points. Seven of the ten sub-groups closed the day ahead.
For a second straight day, the energy group led the charge with a 2.10 percent spike after United States Energy Information Administration reported a less than expected increase in commercial crude oil inventories. This news comes one day after production in two Western Libya pipelines were disrupted by armed groups and the increased likelihood that the OPEC output deal will be extended.
Subsequently, the price of Brent crude oil delivered in May jumped 2.03 percent to a 14-day high of 52.31 U.S. dollars a barrel.
As a result, Calgary-based Encana Corporation and Baytex Energy Corp. were the second and fourth most actively traded stocks on the day. Encana shares soared 6.38 percent to 15.85 Canadian dollars (11.89 U.S. dollars), while Baytex closed at 4.66 Canadian dollars (3.50 U.S. dollars) for a 4.25 percent boost. MEG Energy Corp. and Seven Generations Energy Ltd. shares also posted strong gains, surging 7.83 percent and 5.97 percent, apiece.
Health Care also had a strong session finishing with a 1.24 percent gain. The group was fuelled by Quebec-based drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intentional Inc. advancing 4.04 percent to close at 14.92 Canadian dollars (11.19 U.S. dollars). Local rival ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. also closed ahead with a 1.82 percent ascent to 2.24 Canadian dollars (1.68 U.S. dollars) a share.
The remaining groups that ended Wednesday' s session in positive territory were: Materials (0.65 percent), Financials (0.19 percent), Utilities (0.14 percent), Consumer Discretionary (0.03 percent), and Telecommunications (0.03 percent).
The Materials group, which is made up of producers of gold, precious metals, and raw materials, rose on the day after the spot price of gold rose 0.17 percent to 1,253.40 U.S. dollars an ounce. The same weight of silver advanced 0.28 percent to 18.21 U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, copper prices jumped 0.64 percent to 2.6532 U.S. dollars a pound.
As a result, shares of gold miners Kinross Gold Corporation and Yamana Gold shares rose 2.21 percent and 1.35 percent, respectively. Outperforming the duo with one of the largest gains during the session was Vancouver-based Eldorado Gold Corporation.
Shares of the gold producer who has mines in Asia, Europe, and South America, rocketed 9.88 percent to 4.67 Canadian dollars (3.50 U.S. dollars) after their Greek mine received better than expected gold sales than previous anticipated. The company forecasts an additional 15,000 ounces per year and 55,000 ounces over the course of the project.
Not all sectors came out ahead during the trading day. Information Technology fell 0.43 percent, while Consumer Staples declined 0.34 percent. Industrials rounded out the losing groups with a 0.03 percent downtick.
The TSX IT group was weighed down by a 9.37 percent plunge in shares of Toronto-based Enghouse Systems Limited. The enterprise software solutions firm' s stock price closed at 57.10 Canadian dollars (42.83 U.S. dollars) after being downgraded by analysts at Royal Bank of Canada. Also contributing to the group' s demise were Waterloo-based Blackberry Limited and Open Text Corporation with respective losses of 0.64 percent and 0.40 percent.
The Canadian dollar rose 0.28 cents to finish the day 0.7500 U.S. dollars.