Canadian equities closed Thursday's trading session with significant gains, driven by strong buying across various sectors. The positive market sentiment was primarily due to the encouraging U.S. retail sales data. The S&P/TSX Composite Index, a benchmark for Canadian stocks, closed with a 1.42% increase at 20,567.84 points, nearly reaching the day's peak of 20,576.52.
All sectoral indices reflected the upbeat market sentiment, with substantial gains seen in real estate, industrials, materials, technology, and utilities. The healthcare, financials, consumer discretionary and energy sectors also experienced impressive increases.
Among the prominent gainers were Canadian Tire Corporation, which saw its stock value surge by nearly 7%. Other companies such as Canadian National Railway (TSX: CNR ), West Fraser Timber, Teck Resources (NYSE: TECK ), FirstService (NASDAQ: FSV ) Corporation, Stella-Jones Inc and Constellation Software all reported gains ranging between 3 to 3.5%.
Boyd Group Services, Imperial Oil (NYSE: IMO ), Stantec (NYSE: STN ), WSP Global, Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP ) Kansas City, Toromont Industries and Kinaxis Inc also witnessed strong increases in their stock values.
Empire Company Limited saw a nearly 3% rise in its share price following the announcement of its first quarter net earnings of $261 million ($1.03 per share), marking a significant increase from last year's $187.5 million ($0.71 per share).
However, not all companies participated in the day's success. Dye & Durham saw its shares plunge by 19%, while Laurentian Bank experienced a sharp 12.5% decline.
On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported a modest 0.2% month-over-month increase in wholesale sales to C$81.3 billion in July 2023. This figure was considerably lower than the preliminary estimate of a 1.4% increase and followed a downwardly revised 2.1% drop in the previous month.
In related news, a report from the U.S. Commerce Department indicated that retail sales in the U.S. rose by a higher-than-expected 0.6% in August, following a downwardly revised increase of 0.5% in July. Analysts had initially projected a modest 0.2% rise, compared to the 0.7% increase originally reported for the previous month.
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