TSX gains 200 points, Wall Street hits new records bolstered by Trump optimism by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 1, 2017 9:35 am MDT Last Updated Mar 1, 2017 at 3:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – North American stock markets rose sharply Wednesday, driven largely by optimism from a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump in which he reaffirmed plans in front of Congress to spur economic growth and cut taxes.In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index climbed 200.44 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 15,599.68 — lifted higher by gains in the metals, materials and industrials sectors. It’s the largest one-day advance registered by the commodity-heavy TSX in nearly 10 months.Steve Belisle, managing director at Manulife Asset Management, said the strength in these particular sectors has been helped by new data indicating signs of economic growth in both the U.S. and China.“What the surveys are showing is that industrial production should accelerate materially from here and that is good for all commodities and industrial companies,” he said from Montreal.The Institute for Supply Management reported Wednesday that U.S. factories grew last month at the fastest pace in more than two years.Its manufacturing index came in at 56.0 in January, up from 54.5 in December and the highest since November 2014’s 57.6. Anything above 50 signals growth.U.S. manufacturing has now grown for five straight months and for 10 of the last 11 months.On Tuesday, two surveys also showed that China’s factory activity picked up pace last month, adding to recent evidence that a key sector of the world’s No. 2 economy is stabilizing.Meanwhile, south of the border, all three major Wall Street indices finished at new record highs.The Dow Jones industrial average surpassed the 21,000 mark for the first time ever, finishing up 303.31 points at 21,115.55. The last time the blue-chip index climbed more than 300 points in one session was on Nov. 7, a day before the U.S. election.The S&P 500 advanced 32.32 points at 2,395.96 and the Nasdaq composite gained 78.59 points at 5,904.03.The rally comes as investors found solace for the markets’ recent gains in the past few months following Trump’s speech Tuesday night before U.S. Congress.In his first address before the assembly, the president repeated his pledges to reform taxes, slash red tape and ramp up spending on defence and infrastructure projects.The promises have helped send U.S. stock benchmarks to records, but Trump offered little by way of detail.Still, Belisle said it was enough to calm investors.“(Trump) sounded presidential and reassuring. I think it was more the tone overall. It’s the same things he’s been talking about since his victory speech essentially but the details are still missing,” he said.“There is what he wants to do and what he can actually do, what Congress will allow him to do in the end. Everything he says needs to be taken with a large grain of salt.”In currencies, the Canadian dollar weakened against a strengthening greenback, losing 0.31 of a U.S. cent at 74.99 cents US.The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.05 per cent Wednesday, the same level where it’s been since July 2015.But the central bank warned that it’s keeping a watchful eye on “significant uncertainties” weighing on the outlook for the economy including the direction of U.S. economic policy under Trump.Commodities were mixed as the April crude contract lost 18 cents at US$53.83 per barrel and April natural gas was up three cents at US$2.80 per mmBTU.April gold was down $3.90 at US$1,250 an ounce and May copper gained two cents at US$2.74 a pound.— With files from The Associated PressFollow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter.