The Canadian Press

Toronto: The Toronto stock market advanced for a third-straight session and the Canadian dollar hit its highest level of the year as investor sentiment remained positive following the latest comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 77.75 points to 13,503.98, helped by gains in the financials and real estate sectors.

The loonie continued to strengthen, rising 0.59 of a U.S. cent to 77.13 cents US, as the Fed’s go-slow approach on interest rates weighed on the U.S. currency. The last time the Canadian dollar was at this level was in October 2015.

U.S. markets also headed higher, a day after Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said the central bank will proceed with caution on any interest rate hikes this year. Low interest rates have helped fuel strength on equity markets since the so-called Great Recession.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 83.55 points at 17,716.66, while the broader S&P 500 added 8.94 points to 2,063.95. The Nasdaq rose 22.67 points to 4,869.29.

Commodities were mixed as the May contract for North American benchmark crude oil was up four cents at US$38.32 a barrel, while May natural gas added two cents to US$2.00 per mmBtu. June gold fell $8.90 to US$1,228.60 an ounce and May copper slipped two cents to US$2.19 a pound.