Toronto Goes Positive

Suncor, Enterprise in Focus

Equities in Toronto recovered from initial losses to surge into positives midday Wednesday, even as a third day of oil price losses weighed on its large energy sector and disappointing results from an insurer led financial stocks lower.

The S&P/TSX Composite moved higher 18.68 points to greet noon at 15,517.48

The Canadian dollar added 0.19 cents at 75.99 cents U.S.

Gains for gold and base metal miners on higher commodity prices helped offset the downswing, while Bombardier gained 2.8% to $2.62 after Canada said it would provide the plane and train maker with $372.5 million in repayable loans for two of its jet programs and defend the deal from the trade challenge Brazil formally launched on Wednesday.

The energy group retreated as oil prices extended a recent slide with a big increase in U.S. crude inventories and a slump in Chinese demand.

Suncor Energy Inc fell 2.1% to $39.76, while pipeline operator Enbridge declined 1.4% to $54.92.

Shares in Intact Financial, the country's largest property and casualty insurer, fell 3.8% to $91.72 after the company missed quarterly operating profit expectations on weakness in its auto insurance business.

Barrick Gold Corp advanced 1.3% to $25.78 and Goldcorp advanced 1.2% to $22.29

Base metals miners also gained, as copper prices rose after the world's top two mines said strikes and permit delays would force them to cut output, squeezing global supply.

First Quantum Minerals advanced 1.1% to $16.10 and Lundin Mining was up 3.2% at $8.17.

The exchange operator itself, TMX Group, was barely lower at $69.77 after it said it is in talks to convince Saudi Arabia to list its initial public offering of state-owned Saudi Aramco in Canada.

BlackBerry Ltd shares rose 0.4% to $9.45. The company said on Tuesday it would make its BBM secure-messaging system available for software developers to build into their own products.

In an in-depth letter to shareholders released today, Alberta’s Enterprise Group Inc. CEO Leonard D. Jaroszuk imparted his unique resource industry intel to investors; mainly that the resource sector appears to be steadily strengthening.

Jaroszuk noted that resource development budgets are up significantly for 2017; in some individual cases more than double 2016.
Further, Enterprise management has significant skin in the game.

Throughout the downturn, management increased direct personal equity investment by 275%. As well, the new resource-friendly direction from the new U.S. administration appears to be signaling a major and ongoing boost to the sector.

Shares of Enterprise Group approached noon ET unchanged at 30 cents.

On the economic front, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported this morning that its trend measure of housing starts in Canada was 199,834 units in January compared to 197,881 in December.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 2.58 points to 829.60

Seven of the 12 subgroups were ahead of the game by noon ET, as gold brightened 1.3%, health-care stocks were 1.2% haler, and materials climbed 0.9%.

The five laggards were weighed most by consumer discretionary and industrial stocks, each down 0.3%, and information technology, off 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities traded off session lows Wednesday after oil prices regained their footing following the release of supply data.

The Dow Jones Industrials backpedaled 53.22 points from Tuesday’s all-time high to 20,037.07, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most losses. Apple, another Dow component, traded near its all-time high. The index had fallen about 75 points at session lows.

The S&P 500 skidded 2.11 points to 2,290.97, with utilities outperforming and financials lagging.

The NASDAQ fell 3.16 points from Tuesday’s all-time record to 5,671.06

Allergan, GlaxoSmithKline, Time Warner and Alaska Air are among the major companies that reported earnings before the bell. Whole Foods, CenturyLink, Fiserv and Prudential Financial are all due to report after the market close.

Dow component Walt Disney posted mixed quarterly results Tuesday after the close, as earnings per share topped analyst expectations while sales fell short.

Crude prices for March delivery rose (see below), with the U.S. Energy Information Administration reporting a 13.8-million-barrel increase in oil inventories. The American Petroleum Institute said Tuesday that inventories rose by 14.2 million barrels the week of Feb. 3, sharply above the expected 2.5-million-barrel increase.

WTI had traded about 1 percent lower shortly after the EIA's release before turning positive

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note strengthened, lowering yields to 2.33% from Tuesday’s 2.4%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices found their way up 17 cents to $52.34 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices gained $7.70 to $1,243.80 U.S. an ounce.