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TSX hits 17-month high as U.S. indexes reach new records

Higher oil prices helped send North American stocks upward on Monday, with the benchmark Canadian index rising to levels not seen since early June 2015 and major U.S. markets scoring a trio of record high closes.

In trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude for January delivery rose $1.88 to close at $48.24 US.

Crude was apparently up on optimism that OPEC will come to an agreement on supply when it meets on Nov. 30 in Vienna. The member of the cartel have agreed to preliminary terms of a deal that will reduce the production of oil slightly, but the details remain to be determined.

There are also seasonal factors at play, as the sudden burst of cold wintry weather across much of the populated northeast portion of North America has sent energy prices rallying.

“When the traders in Chicago look out their window and see snow,” CMC Markets analyst Colin Cieszynski said, “the seasonal pick up in energy markets kicks off.”

“It is not uncommon to get this sort of rally in natural gas and heating oil this time of year,” Cieszynski​ said.

In response, the SP/TSX Composite Index finished up 175.84 points at 15,039.87, the index’s first close above 15,000 since the spring of last year. 

On Wall Street, three major indexes all hit record highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 88.76 points to finish at 18,956.69, topping the record close it posted last week. The broader SP 500 added 16.28 points to end at 2,198.18, a record high that surpassed the previous mark set in August. The Nasdaq composite index beat the all-time high it reached in September by moving up 47.35 points to finish at 5,368.86.

The euro and the British pound also traded higher against the U.S. dollar.