Daily Wrap-up: TSX closes higher as oil rebounds

TSX closes higher as oil rebounds... Infrastructure spending could be brought forward says Ottawa... CP earnings disappoint, lay-offs announced... Alberta drives growth in EI claimants... RBC sells insurance unit to Aviva Canada...

Steve Randall
TSX closes higher as oil rebounds
The price of US crude rebounded 5 per cent Thursday while Brent crude neared a 6 per cent gain with both nearing $30 by the end of the session. The bounce, coupled with the ECB holding interest rates steady and comments from its president that the bank would review its monetary policy for the Eurozone at the next meeting, helped boost sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic.

European stocks ended higher with Frankfurt, Paris and London up around 2 per cent.

Wall Street was also boosted by the session’s events and on the Toronto Stock Exchange energy and financials led the gains while railways tempered some of the gains on disappointing profits for Canadian Pacific.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed up 192.8 (1.63 per cent)
The Dow Jones closed up 115.9 (0.74 per cent)
Oil is trending higher (Brent $29.55, WTI $29.78 at 4.15pm)
Gold is trending lower (1101.70 at 4.15pm)
The loonie is valued at U$0.6996
Infrastructure spending could be brought forward says Ottawa
The fragile state of the economy could mean Ottawa bringing forward its plans to invest in infrastructure projects. Amarjeet Sohi, the infrastructure minister, said that there was consideration over starting maintenance projects immediately to help support the economy. The maintenance would lead into a longer period of infrastructure investment across Canada.
CP earnings disappoint, lay-offs announced
The latest financial results from Canadian Pacific fell short of expectations Thursday. In the three months to the end of 2015 the railway operator’s earnings fell by 29 per cent to $319 million or $2.08 per share. The firm said that it would cut 1,000 jobs this year as lower shipment volumes hit profits. Most will be by attrition. CP cut 1,200 jobs in 2015 and thousands more since the recession.
Alberta drives growth in EI claimants
In November, 544,200 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up 0.6 per cent from October, StatsCan says.  Numbers increased in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba and there were slightly more beneficiaries in Quebec and Nova Scotia. On the other hand, there were slightly fewer beneficiaries in New Brunswick and British Columbia. The remaining provinces had little change. Year-over-year the total was up 45,800 or 9.2 per cent, the largest increase since February 2010 with about two-thirds of the increase in Alberta.
RBC sells insurance unit to Aviva Canada
Royal Bank of Canada is selling its auto and home insurance unit to Aviva Canada for $582 million. It will add around $800 million in premiums to Aviva’s book. Around 575 RBC General Insurance Co. employees will transfer to Aviva as part of the deal.