TORONTO – Further signs of U.S. economic growth and budget concessions in Italy drove global markets higher as crude prices returned to a near four-year high.U.S. private payroll data released Wednesday showed potential for a strong upcoming jobs report while the ISM non-manufacturing index for September beat expectations, said Anish Chopra, managing director with Portfolio Management Corp.The index, which measures economic activity, registered 61.6 per cent for the highest level since the index was created in 2008.Market concern was alleviated when Italy gave signs that if would cut its budget deficit and tackle its debt in the coming years.The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 54.82 points to 16,072.05, after hitting a high of 16,082.26 on 223.2 million shares traded.The increase was led by a nearly five per cent gain in the health-care sector, which includes some of the biggest names in the marijuana business, and the important energy sector, which was up 1.9 per cent.“There’s been a strong move in the price of oil over the last number of weeks and months and that continues today,” Chopra said in an interview. “The price of natural gas has been up the last number of days and you can see that in the performance of the energy sector.”The November crude contract was up $1.18 at US$76.41 per barrel, hitting its highest level since November 2014. The November natural gas contract was up 6.4 cents at US$3.23 per mmBTU.Chopra said energy prices rose on the back of stronger demand because of a growing U.S. economy and supply issues related to impending U.S. sanctions on Iran that will constrain oil supplies.Meanwhile, gold and utilities were lower because interest rates are creeping up, uncertainty in Canada is lessening following the announcement of a new NAFTA deal and Canadian government bond yields are climbing.“As yields rise you tend to see utility prices fall in sympathy with government bond yields rising,” he said.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average reached another new high, gaining 54.45 points to close at 26,828.39. The S&P 500 index rose 2.08 points to 2,925.51, while the Nasdaq composite was up 25.54 points at 8,025.08.The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 77.93 cents US compared with an average of 78.02 cents US on Tuesday.The December gold contract was down US$4.10 at US$1,202.90 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 2.75 cents at US$2.83 a pound.