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Sep 14, 2017

TSX posts highest close in 2 weeks as Empire leads

BNN's closing bell update: September 14, 2017

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Canada's benchmark stock index posted its highest close in nearly two weeks on Thursday as stronger oil prices drove gains for energy companies, while food retailer Empire Company Ltd (EMPa.TO) got a boost from stronger-than-expected results.

The energy group, which accounts for 20 per cent of the Toronto market's weight, climbed 1.2 per cent.

"It came out of the gates strong," said Bruce Latimer, senior equity trader at Eight Capital. "People are waiting to see if this move in energy is for real."

Energy has rallied for four straight days but is down 18 per cent for the year.

U.S. crude prices settled 1.2 per cent higher at US$49.89 a barrel after the International Energy Agency said a global oil surplus was shrinking. It touched its highest intraday since May at US$50.50.

"We always like to see it on the right side of US$50," Latimer said.

Encana Corp (ECA.TO) added 2.7 per cent to $12.73 and Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) advanced 1.7 per cent to $41.63.

Empire, the parent company of the Sobeys grocery chain, soared 14.5 per cent to $22.61 after reporting adjusted earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations.

Global automotive supplier Magna International Inc (MG.TO) rose 3.7 per cent to $62.08.

Gains for Magna came as Sweden's Autoliv (ALV.N) said it planned to split into two listed companies, with one focused on high-tech safety gear to capture the rapid growth towards self-driving vehicles.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 45.91 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 15,172.72, its highest close since Sept 1.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, rose 0.4 per cent, helped by higher gold prices.

Gold rebounded from a two-week low as North Korea threatened the United States and Japan, and the U.S. dollar softened.

In contrast, copper prices hit a four-week low as disappointing data from China pointed to slowing demand from the metal's top consumer. 

Teck Resources (TECKb.TO), which produces copper, fell 1.5 per cent to $26.29.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) was up 0.3 per cent at $67.27 after the U.S. Federal Reserve approved its acquisition of Scottrade Financial Services, as expected.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP.TO) moved up 1.1 per cent to $193.74 and Canadian National Railway Co (CNR.TO) added 0.6 per cent to $98.64, a day after both operators spoke optimistically about grain volumes for the rest of the year.

Of the index's 10 main groups, only telecom lost ground. It declined 0.7 per cent.