TORONTO - The Toronto stock market held onto most of its gains Friday on optimism that central banks are prepared to respond to the outcome of the Greek election this weekend, if required.
The sentiment buoyed markets around the globe as well after the president of the European Central Bank said it would continue its "crucial role" of making sure the financial system has sufficient cash.
The S&P/TSX composite index moved ahead 58.48 points to 11,524.90, up 0.2 per cent for the week. The TSX Venture Exchange slipped 1.31 points to 1,251.02.
The Canadian dollar was up 0.15 of a cent at 97.83 cents US.
Concerns have been growing over the elections in Greece on Sunday and whether Athens will be forced to leave the euro currency union if the elected party doesn't support the tough austerity terms of the country's financial bailout package. Greece's exit from the euro could have a widespread impact on other European countries.
Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse, suggested that if any swift action is needed, the central banks are likely at the ready.
"You don't want to let the market see you blink. You could see tremendous monetary support, whatever fashion necessary, right out of the chute in the wake of any need," he said in a phone interview from Saskatoon, Sask.
"It may be one of those situations in which having sold on the rumour you don't get a lot more selling on the news."
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was ahead 115.26 points at 12,767.17.
The Nasdaq composite index rose 36.47 points to 2,872.80 and the S&P 500 index added 13.74 points to 1,342.84.
On the TSX, metals and mining stocks rose 1.7 per cent, with Sherritt International (TSX:S) up seven cents to $4.91.
The information technology sector was 1.7 per cent higher, partly on a five per cent gain in stock of Research In Motion, which was up 56 cents at $11.17.
The energy sector gained 1.8 per cent with the July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange closing 12 cents higher at US$84.03 a barrel, which is about flat with a week ago.
July copper was up about three cents to US$3.38 a pound, while August gold shifted $8.50 higher to US$1,628.10 an ounce, ending the week up per cent.
A series of Canadian data provided some insight into the domestic economy.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reported that the number of homes sales last month fell 3.1 per cent compared with April, but remained up from a year ago. Still, the organization updated its forecast for the year to see average home prices rise by 2.2 per cent to $370,700 compared with an earlier expectation that they would fall 1.1 per cent.
Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales fell 0.8 per cent in April to $49.1 billion, marking the third decline in four months, driven in particular by the aerospace product and parts industry and by the petroleum and coal products sector.
"The economic stats here or south of the border, while mixed, continue to show the sort of modest growth that we've written and talked about ad nauseam for the past year and a half," Gorman said.
"It's important to bear that in mind because we are very much focused on some of these macro issues emanating out of Europe, but we continue to make decent progress here in North America, and I think that will likely continue to be the case."
In Europe, markets have been focused on the Greek election on Sunday.
The Bank of England and the U.K. government said they stand ready to offer up to 140 billion pounds (US$217 billion) in cheap loans to lenders that might have trouble raising money from credit markets, which could tighten up if results of the Greek elections spook investors.
The European Central Bank, meanwhile, continues to offer unlimited amounts of cheap short-term loans as well, even though its chief, Mario Draghi, has warned that European governments need to make bold decisions to shore up confidence in the euro.
Draghi said Friday that the ECB has supported banks against the ongoing debt crisis with €1 trillion ($1.26 trillion) in emergency credit to banks and that now it was the turn of governments to act.
Germany, however, is reluctant to accept any big moves that might cost Berlin more money, such as jointly-issued eurobonds. Any solutions would be announced at a June 28 summit of world leaders.
Bombardier Transportation (TSX:BBD.B) says it has signed a deal worth up to $1.6 billion to supply San Francisco with new rail cars, the latest in a string of major contracts signed with U.S. customers. Its shares gained 2.6 per cent to $3.91.
Heading into next week, investors will look to the U.S. Federal Reserve to provide an indication it is willing to provide another round of stimulus to help a slowing economy. The Fed makes its next interest rate announcement Tuesday.