Stocks Flat at Open

EI Numbers Released

Stocks began Thursday trading somewhat tentatively, as health-care gains overcame negative vibes in industrials

The S&P/TSX Composite crept up 0.2 points to open the session at 15,845.15

The Canadian dollar pulled ahead 0.12 cents of 76.64 cents U.S.

Bombardier Inc reported lower-than-expected revenue, hurt by weak demand in its rail and business aircraft units.

Shares in the plane and train maker declined nine cents, or 3.5%, to $2.49.

Cenovus Energy Inc. reported a surprise quarterly profit as production rose and costs fell. Cenovus shares took on 70 cents, or 3.9%, to $18.70.

Encana Corp reported a quarterly operating profit that topped analysts' estimates and boosted its 2017 capital expenditure target by 50% from a year earlier. Encana shares dipped 50 cents, or 3%, to $16.20.

Credit Suisse raised the target price on Barrick Gold to $25.00 from $23.00. Barrick shares barreled ahead 72 cents, or 2.9%, to $26.00.

CIBC raised the rating on Colliers International Group to outperform from neutral. Colliers shares gained $1.41, or 2.6%, to $56.40.

CIBC cut the target price on First Capital Realty to $22.00 from $23.00. First Capital shares shed two cents to $20.55.

On the economic ledger, Statistics Canada reported that folks drawing employment insurance in December numbered 568,000, down 3,200 or 0.6% from the previous month.

Also, the Canadian Real Estate Association said national home sales declined 1.3% from December 2016 to January 2017. CREA said actual (not seasonally-adjusted) activity in January was up 1.9% from a year earlier.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange improved 2.55 points to 840.69

Eight of the 12 subgroups were higher to begin the day, as health-care was haler by 0.7%, gold moved up 0.4%, and energy eked up 0.2%.
The four laggards were weighed by industrials, down 0.2%, while financials and consumer staples each settled 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities traded lower Thursday, taking a breather after posting records closes for five straight days.

The Dow Jones Industrials stepped back 12.82 points from Wednesday’s all-time high to 20,599.04

The S&P 500 dropped 3.57 points to 2,345.68, with health care leading decliners

The NASDAQ fell 3.26 points to 5,816.18

In corporate news, investors parsed through quarterly results from CBS, Wendy's, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Marriott, among other firms.
Economic data continued to come in strong Thursday, with weekly jobless claims holding around their lowest levels in more than 40 years, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index hit its highest level since January 1984.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.47% from Wednesday’s 2.5%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices recovered 30 cents to $53.41 U.S. a barrel