Canadian stocks post their best start to the year since 1980

Cheech Marin, right (with Tommy Chong), is still hot on pot — as a business, at least — after a successful career portraying a stoner.Handout

The last time Canadian stocks started the year with such a dramatic gain, Michael Jackson’s Rock With You was the No. 1 song, the Rubik’s Cube had just hit store shelves and Bank of Canada’s key lending rate was almost 13 per cent.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index has gained about seven per cent since the close of trading on Dec. 31, the largest increase over the first 18 days of the year since 1980, when the benchmark was up 8.5 per cent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The index is up 11 straight days.