Banks help lift Toronto stock index as loonie ends its 5day streak

TORONTO — The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index rose on solid earnings and a boost in the price of oil, while indices south of the border slipped.The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 78.20 points to 15,063.16.The jump came as one of Canada’s biggest banks reported strong results for its latest financial quarter, said Ian Scott, an investment analyst at Manulife Asset Management, setting the tone for a slew of financial company earnings this week and next.Royal Bank (TSX:RY), the first of Canada’s six biggest banks to report third-quarter financial results this year, boosted its dividend by five per cent to 91 cents per share, which one analyst said was twice as big as expected.A bump in the price of oil also lifted the energy sector, where shares rose on average by more than one per cent.The October crude contract advanced 58 cents to US$48.41 per barrel, in part thanks to data showing lower inventory levels.The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest weekly petroleum status report showed U.S. commercial crude inventories, excluding those in the strategic petroleum reserve, for the week ending Friday, Aug. 18, decreased by 3.3 million from the previous week.Meanwhile, politics impacted Wall Street as Tuesday night’s commentary from U.S. President Donald Trump worked its way into the markets, said Scott.Trump threatened to shut down the federal government unless Congress agreed to fund a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border — one of the American leader’s major campaign promises.The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 87.80 points to 21,812.09, the S&P 500 index fell 8.47 points to 2,444.04, and the Nasdaq composite index shed 19.07 points to 6,278.41.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 79.59 cents US, down 0.08 of a U.S. cent and breaking its five-day streak of gains.Elsewhere in commodities, the September natural gas contract shed 1.1 cents to roughly US$2.93 per mmBTU, the December gold contract gained $3.70 to US$1,294.70 an ounce and the September copper contract fell about seven-tenths of a cent to US$2.98 a pound.By Aleksandra Sagan in Vancouver.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.

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