The S&P/TSX composite index ran ahead 107.32 points to 12,593.96.
Traders also digested big losses handed in by two major gold miners and an announcement from TransCanada Corp (TSX:TRP) that it's going ahead with its Energy East pipeline project to transport crude from western provinces as far east as Saint John, N.B. TransCanada shares were ahead $1.08 to $48.01.
The Canadian dollar was down 0.71 of a cent to 96.64 cents US as the Institute for Supply Management said its U.S. manufacturing index for July came in at 55.4, higher than June's reading of 50.9 and the best level since April, 2011.
Royal Bank’s latest purchasing managers index for the Canadian manufacturing sector came in at 52 for July, down slightly from the June reading of 52.4. Any level above 50 indicates expansion.
China's official purchasing managers index hit 50.3 last month. That is up only slightly from June’s 50.1 reading but economists had expected a modest decline of below 50.
However, analysts note that the index has held between 49 and 51 for the past 15 months and is an indication that the days of double-digit Chinese growth aren't coming back.
"And even if it wanted to (grow that much), it can’t because it has an inflation problem," observed Kash Pashootan, portfolio manager and vice-president at First Avenue Advisory in Ottawa, a Raymond James company.
"That inflation challenge that they didn’t have five or six years ago which they have more of now puts downward pressure or sort of a ceiling on the rate on which they can grow."
U.S. indexes also racked up strong gains with the Dow Jones industrials and S&P 500 establishing record highs.
The Dow Jones industrials gained 128.48 points to 15,628.02, the Nasdaq composite index was ahead 49.37 points to 3,675.74 while the S&P 500 index climbed 21.14 points to 1,706.87.
Markets sentiment was also boosted by Wednesday’s statement from the Federal Reserve, which wrapped up its two-day meeting without any change to its monetary policy that has supported the economy by keeping interest rates ultra-low. That, in turn, has encouraged lending and spending and also boosted stock markets.
There has been much speculation over the last two months about when the Fed might start to wind down its US$85 billion of bond purchases every month.
Analysts think that the central bank could move on tapering its purchases as early as its next meeting in September.
Traders also turned their attention to the release of the U.S. non-farm payrolls report coming out Friday. Economists looked for the data to show that the economy created about 190,000 jobs during July.
Commodity prices were mainly higher in the wake of the Chinese data and the energy sector led TSX advancers, up 2.25 per cent with the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up $2.86 to US$107.89 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) rose 88 cents to C$32.71.
Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) weighed on the sector as it said its net income was $327 million in the second quarter, a decline from $635 million in the year-earlier period. The main reason cited by the company was a $264-million non-cash charge related to its conversion of a refinery in Dartmouth, N.S., into a fuels terminal. Adjusted earnings were 34 cents per share compared with an analyst estimate of $1 per share and its shares slipped $1.06 to $43.01.
The base metals sector climbed 1.84 per cent while copper added to Wednesday’s eight-cent rise, up five cents to US$3.17 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) advanced 49 cents to C$24.55 while HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) dropped 33 cents to $6.59 as the miner reported deepening losses. Its second quarter loss came in at $52.7 million or 31 cents a share, compared to a loss of $29.6 million or 17 cents a year ago.
The industrials sector advanced 1.34 per cent and Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) improved by $3.66 to $129.79.
Shares in transport giant Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) dipped one cent to $4.95 as it said it had adjusted net income totalling US$158 million in the third quarter, equivalent to nine cents per share and in line with analyst estimates.
Financials were also higher and Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) rose 36 cents to $18.45.
The gold sector was the major decliner, down almost two per cent while December bullion in New York shed $1.80 to US$1,311.20 an ounce. Iamgold Corp. (TSX:IMG) faded 10 cents to C$5.20.
Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) posted a US$8.56 billion loss and lowered its quarterly dividend in the wake of lower prices for bullion and copper. Excluding unusual items, Barrick had adjusted earnings of US$663 million or 66 cents in the quarter ended June 30 — better than the analyst estimate but down from 82 cents per share last year and its shares jumped 46 cents to C$17.46.
Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K) reported a net loss of $3.2 billion for its latest quarter, as it was also hit with a substantial impairment charge related to lower gold price assumptions and suspended its dividend. Adjusted earnings fell to 10 cents a share, beating analyst expectations of seven cents a share. Its shares slipped six cents to $5.28.Suggest a correction