by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 31, 2015 6:09 am MDT Last Updated Jul 31, 2015 at 4:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Toronto stock market higher on materials stocks, Canadian dollar slips TORONTO – The Toronto Stock Exchange closed higher on Friday as strength in the materials and financials sectors overcame another decline in oil prices.The S&P/TSX composite index moved up 85.66 points to close at 14,468.44, ahead of the Civic Holiday on Monday.Driving the market higher was a jump in most TSX materials sector stocks, pushing the sector up 2.8 per cent, as traders reacted positively to efforts from many Canadian gold companies to rein in spending.The financials sector lifted 0.4 per cent with nearly all of the major banks higher.“I firmly believe that bank stocks are cheap, and if you look at what’s taking the market higher … it’s the financials which are powering markets,” said Allan Small, senior investment adviser at Holliswealth.“I’m a believer that bank stocks will continue to do well even in a slowing Canadian economy because a lot of their income is outside of the country … and in wealth management.”Canada’s economy showed its fifth consecutive month of retraction in May, according to the latest figures released by Statistics Canada. Real gross domestic product fell 0.2 per cent in May on the back of weaker sectors like manufacturing, mining, and oil and gas extraction.The data added extra pressure to the loonie, which lost 0.41 of a cent to 76.45 cents U.S.In commodities, crude ended its worst month since 2008. The September contract for crude oil fell $1.40 to settle at US$47.12, as the TSX energy sector dropped 0.6 per cent.The December gold contract gained US$6.40 to $1,095.10 an ounce.On Wall Street, energy stocks were hit hard as oil giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron saw weaker financial results.The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 56.12 points to 17,689.86, while the Nasdaq edged back 0.50 points to 5,128.28 and the S&P 500 fell 4.79 points to 2,103.84.Shares of Exxon Mobil and Chevron, the two largest publicly traded energy companies, fell roughly five per cent each during the session, with both companies reporting significantly weaker profits — affected by the decline of oil prices.Canadian underwear maker Gildan Activewear Inc. (TSX:GIL) faced weaker second-quarter results as it cut prices on some of its clothing sold to screenprinters.The company posted earnings of US$99.4 million or 41 cents per diluted share, compared with a profit of $116 million or 47 cents per diluted share a year ago.Gildan also said it projects full-year adjusted earnings will come in near the bottom of its guidance range of US$1.50 to $1.55, as it continues to be affected by the same pricing issues.Follow @dj_friend on Twitter.

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