TSX closes higher amid expectations of an imminent rate hike from central

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher amid expectations that the Bank of Canada appears poised to hike its interest rate later this week.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 78.12 points to 15,105.28, with most sectors higher.Materials stocks led the way on the TSX, climbing 2.75 per cent, while base metals were up 2.24 per cent and gold rose 2.20 per cent. Real estate stocks slumped 0.25 per cent, while utilities were 0.11 per cent lower.The loonie was trading at an average price of 77.59 cents US, down 0.01 of a U.S. cent from Friday’s close.Canada’s central bank is widely expected to raise its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday for the first increase in seven years.“The real story about the Bank of Canada is less about this one particular rate hike,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.“I think it’s really about the longer term path for monetary policy in Canada.”In New York, markets were mixed due to a combination of optimism heading into second quarter earnings and the overhang of policy uncertainty, particularly relating to a health-care bill revamp.U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to pass a health-care bill that would erase much of former president Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Trump’s bill has stalled and on Monday he pressured divided Senate Republicans to pass it in the next few weeks.“That’s adding a little bit of political anxiety to the market,” said Fehr.The Dow Jones industrial average gave back 5.82 points to 21,408.52, the S&P 500 index added 2.25 points to 2,427.43 and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 23.31 points to 6,176.39.In commodities, the August crude contract was up 17 cents to US$44.40 per barrel and the August natural gas contract advanced seven cents to US$2.93 per mmBTU.The August gold contract gained $3.50 to US$1,213.20 an ounce and the September copper contract was unchanged at US$2.65 a pound.Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter.

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