Man facing stock exchange, financial chart overlay

Canada’s main stock index hit a record intraday high Thursday following a thawing of trade tension and more stimulus from the European Central Bank.

The S&P/TSX composite index rose to 16,696.40, beating the previous high of 16,672.71 set in April. A pullback at the end of the day cut some of the gains at it closed up 32.14 points to 16,643.28, below the highest-ever close of 16,669.40.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 45.41 points at 27,182.45. The S&P 500 index was up 8.64 points at 3,009.57, while the Nasdaq composite was up 24.79 points at 8,194.47.

The Canadian dollar traded for an average of US75.73¢, compared with US75.87¢ on Wednesday.

The October crude contract was down US66¢ at US$55.09 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was up US2.2¢ at US$2.57 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$4.20 at US$1,507.40 an ounce and the December copper contract was up US2.6¢ at US$2.64 a pound.

Stock markets rose after the United States delayed increasing tariffs on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports by two weeks as “a gesture of good will.”

In Beijing, China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday that Chinese importers are asking U.S. suppliers for prices of soybeans, pork and other farm goods. It’s a sign they might step up purchases of American agricultural products, a possible goodwill gesture ahead of talks next month aimed at ending the tariff war.

The European Central Bank also launched a stimulus drive to help the euro zone economy ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting next week when it is expected to lower interest rates.

In a wide-ranging package of measures that will ensure outgoing president Mario Draghi leaves his mark on ECB policies long after he departs next month, the bank cut one key interest rate further below zero. It trimmed the rate on deposits it takes from banks to minus 0.5 per cent from minus 0.4 per cent, a penalty that pushes banks to lend their excess cash.

The ECB, which sets policy for the 19 countries that use the shared euro currency, also said it would restart its bond-buying stimulus program, which pumps newly-created money into the financial system to lower borrowing costs and help the economy. It will buy 20 billion euros (C$29.2 billion) a month in government and corporate bonds for as long as needed.