11/14/2014 08:26 EST | Updated 01/14/2015 05:59 EST

TSX up amid string of positive economic data; energy stocks higher as oil rises

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market closed higher Friday as energy stocks advanced and oil prices clawed back some of Thursday's big loss.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 64.33 points to 14,843.1 amid a strong collection of economic data from Canada and the United States.

The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.78 of a cent at 88.68 cents US amid better than expected readings on Canadian manufacturing and U.S. retail sales.

Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales rose 2.1 per cent to $53 billion in September following a sharp 3.5 per cent drop the previous month.

U.S. markets were uneven as retail sales rose 0.3 per cent last month after falling by the same amount in September. Also, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose 2.5 points to a reading of 89, the strongest reading since 2007.

The reaction was muted, however, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 near or at record high levels following a short, shallow retracement last month. Analysts are looking for a catalyst to boost indexes further.

"I think it comes down to the same thing," said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.

"Growth is below average but accelerating and, as long as that continues to play out as a long recovery, then earnings will continue to advance. At the end of the day, stocks are a reflection of earnings. That’s what you’re buying and as long as the earnings as going up, we’re all right."

The Dow Jones industrials gave back 18.05 points to 17,634.74, while the Nasdaq rose 8.4 points to 4,688.54 and the S&P 500 index edged 0.49 of a point higher to 2039.82.

The TSX energy sector was ahead 1.15 per cent as the December crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $1.61 to US$75.66 a barrel. The group tumbled three per cent and oil dropped $3 Thursday to its first close below $75 in four years after data showed that U.S. crude supplies decreased 1.7 million barrels last week, much more than the 500,000 barrel drop that analysts had expected. However, gasoline inventories rose by 1.8 million barrels against an expected 280,000 decrease.

An imbalance between supply and demand has helped drive crude prices down by about 30 per cent from the highs of the summer when Iraqi oil supplies were threatened by Islamic State insurgents. Many analysts think the dive to the mid-70s won't last and point to economic fundamentals suggesting oil should be trading around the $90 level.

The gold sector led advancers, up about 5.6 per cent as the December bullion contract gained $24.10 to US$1,185.60 an ounce. That TSX gold sector has plunged 14 per cent in the past month while bullion prices have headed steadily downward, pressured in part by a U.S. dollar that strengthened as the Federal Reserve removed its last quantitative easing stimulus at the end of October.

The December copper contract was ahead five cents at US$3.04 a pound and the base metals sector climbed 2.25 per cent.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve TransCanada's (TSX:TRP) Keystone XL oil pipeline Friday afternoon. A separate Senate vote is expected early next week. But the big question is whether a positive vote for the pipeline will be vetoed by President Barack Obama. TransCanada shares were down 65 cents at $55.80.

The TSX ended the week up 152 points or one per cent, leaving the Toronto market up nine per cent for the year so far. The Dow inched up 61 points or 0.35 per cent.