Canada's TSX climbs above 20,000, loonie posts 6-year high as oil rallies

TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock market index climbed above the 20,000 threshold for the first time on Tuesday while the loonie notched a six-year high, with sentiment underpinned by gains in oil and data showing strong economic growth in the first quarter.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index touched a record high at 20,014.70 before dipping to 20,000.12, up 1.4% on the day. Since hitting its low during the coronavirus crisis in March last year, the commodity-linked index has soared nearly 80%.

Twenty thousand is “a great big psychological level,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management. “It’s confirmation that we have a pretty solid upward trend in place.”

The TSX climbed in May for the fourth month, while it is up nearly 15% since the beginning of 2021, outpacing Wall Street.

Materials and energy shares account for 25% of the Toronto market’s capitalization, compared with 5% for the S&P 500. U.S. crude oil futures touched on Tuesday the highest level since October 2018 at $68.87 a barrel.

Canada’s first-quarter annualized growth was 5.6%, reflecting continued strength in the economy influenced by favorable mortgage rates, government transfers and stronger employment, the latest official data showed.

The Canadian dollar, which has benefited this year from higher commodity prices and a more hawkish stance from the Bank of Canada, touched its strongest since May 2015 at 1.2007 per U.S. dollar, or 83.28 U.S. cents, before slipping to 1.2057, up 0.1% on the day.

The Toronto stock market is expected to rise to 20,050 by the end of the year and then to 21,750 by the end of 2022, a Reuters polls showed last month. (Reporting by Fergal Smith Editing by Bernadette Baum)