TSX gets boost from retail sales data loonie continues streak for 5th

TORONTO — Canada’s main index saw its first day of gains in more than a week as Statistics Canada released another set of positive economic data.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index advanced 33.08 points to 14,984.96. The last time the commodity-heavy index finished the day out of the red was Monday, Aug. 14.Tuesday’s gain came as Statistics Canada released data showing retail sales rose 1.1 per cent in June, excluding automotive and gasoline sales.“Any tidbit of information — positive or negative — is going to have outsized impacts on the market today,” said Craig Jerusalim, a portfolio manager of Canadian equities at CIBC Asset Management.That’s because the backdrop is a low-volume market, he said, as many people are away on vacation.The retail sales data also helped to lift the Canadian dollar, which continued its streak of gains for the fifth consecutive day.The loonie was trading at an average price of 79.67 cents US, up 0.15 of a U.S. cent. It has advanced 1.27 of a U.S. cent since last Tuesday’s daily average price of 78.40 cents US.In New York, markets also got a boost after a muted start to the week, as investors jumped on the losses of the past couple weeks as a buying opportunity rather than joining the sell-off.The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 196.14 points to 21,899.89, the S&P 500 index added 24.14 points to 2,452.51, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 84.35 points to 6,297.48.Gold continued to be unable to crack the US$1,300 an ounce mark, Jerusalim said, despite the ongoing political and social issues coming out of the White House that usually see investors turn to the precious metal as a safe haven.The December bullion contract dropped $5.70 to US$1,291.00 an ounce.Jerusalim suggested some investors may also be turning to cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, as alternative safe haven assets. He said they seem to be doing well when the U.S. dollar is weak — traditionally, a time when gold rallies.“Cryptocurrencies could be taking some of that excess demand off the table.”Elsewhere in commodities, the October crude contract gained 30 cents to US$47.83 per barrel, the September natural gas contract shed 2.3 cents to roughly US$2.94 per mmBTU, and the September copper contract gained about seven-tenths of a cent to roughly US$2.99 pound.– With files from the Associated PressBy Aleksandra Sagan in VancouverFollow @AleksSagan on Twitter.