TSX Remains Positive

Intertape, Hexo Take Centre Stage

Stocks in Canada’s biggest markets kept their winning streak going by noon EDT on Wednesday, lifted by energy shares tracking stronger oil prices, while hopes that the coronavirus outbreak could be peaking in the United States helped broader sentiment.

The TSX Composite Index progressed 195.76 points, or 1.4%, at 13,809.90,

The Canadian dollar nosed ahead 0.07 cents to 71.41 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Intertape Polymer Group Inc, which jumped $1.80, or 17.9%, to $11.87, after the packaging company maintained its outlook. Seven Generations Energy rose 23 cents, or 10.3%, to $2.47.

Hexo Corp slumped 23 cents, or 24%, the biggest percentage decliner on the TSX, to 73 cents, after it priced a $40-million public offering. Meg Energy was down five cents, or 1.8%, to $2.80.

Economically speaking, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported housing starts registered at 195,200, compared to the expected 172,500, and to 210,100 in February.

Statistics Canada said building permits decreased 7.3% to $8.6 billion in February, driven by the residential component. Declines were reported in five provinces, with the largest decrease reported in British Columbia (-39.2% to $1.3 billion).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will keep up efforts to persuade the U.S. not to block the export of medical supplies to fight the coronavirus, while Alberta warned of an economic disaster.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 2.87 points to 405.42.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups reached noon in plus territory, with consumer discretionary stocks ahead 4.1%, real-estate stronger 3.7%, and health-care up 3.3%.

The four laggards were weighed most by communications, down 0.6%. consumer staples, fading 0.5%, and gold, off 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks surged on Wednesday after Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, relieving some of Wall Street’s political concerns.

The Dow Jones Industrials screamed higher 534.24 points, or 2.4%, to 23,188.10

The S&P 500 jumped 52.86 points, or 2%, to 2,712.27

The NASDAQ Composite popped 136.56 points, or 1.7%, to 8,023.82.

The major averages hit their session highs after Sanders made his announcement. Some of Sanders’ policy proposals, including Medicare for All, raised concern among several business owners and investors who feared taxes would go up under his presidency.

Wednesday’s news puts former Vice President Joe Biden — who is seen by Wall Street as a more market-friendly candidate — closer to the Democratic nomination.

Stocks pressured by the coronavirus outbreak led the way higher. Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean all advanced at least 2.6%. MGM Resorts gained 6.5% while Wynn Resorts climbed 5.3%. United led airline stocks higher with a 6.6% jump. American gained
4.5%, and Delta traded higher by 2.7%.

In the U.S., the number of daily increases in coronavirus cases has fallen since Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Daily increases in global cases have also fallen since then.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the media on Wednesday that the U.S. death count related to the coronavirus is now lower than initially thought, noting there should be a turnaround after this week. He added, however, virus efforts should be intensified.

However, some investors believe equities were getting ahead of the reality where coronavirus shutdowns are likely to weigh on the economy significantly beyond the second quarter. The major averages have rallied about 20% from their March 23 lows.

The Federal Open Market Committee is set to publish its meeting minutes from its March meeting. In an emergency decision ahead of that meeting, the Fed cut interest rates to zero, for the first time since the financial crisis.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury lost ground, lifting yields to 0.75% from Tuesday’s 0.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 81 cents to $24.44 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $5.70 to $1,689.40 U.S. an ounce.