By: Glenn Wilkins - Thursday, February 16, 2017 TSX Narrowly Positive Gold, Real-Estate Top Finishers Advertisment Stocks in Toronto undulated around the breakeven point, before finishing barely in positive territory, largely on the strength of gold stocks. The S&P/TSX Composite forged out gains of 19.22 points to close Thursday at 15,864.17 The Canadian dollar ended negative 0.05 cents to 76.47 cents U.S. Barrick Gold broke out in a big way Thursday, spiking $1.53, or 6.1%, to $26.81, while Goldcorp rocketed $1.28, or 5.9%, to $23.11. Utilities also performed strongly, as Hydro One took on 20 cents to $3.83, while Fortis Inc. hiked 98 cents, or 2.3%, to $42.91. Health-care stocks got bruised, in particular, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, off 83 cents, or 3.8%, to $21.19, while Concordia International tailed off eight cents, or 2.3%, to $3.45. Energy stocks faded, especially EnCana Corporation, dipping 41 cents, or 2.5%, to $16.29 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 5.18 points to 843.32 Eight of the 12 subgroups were higher on the day, as gold climbed 1.7%, real-estate gained 1%, and utilities picked up 0.7% The four laggards were weighed most by health-care, stumbling 2.6%, energy, sagging 0.3%, and financials, dipping 0.1%. ON WALLSTREET U.S. equities closed mostly lower Thursday, taking a breather after posting records closes for five straight days, while energy dropped 1%. The Dow Jones Industrials recovered 7.91 points above Wednesday’s all-time high to 20,619.77, with Chevron leading decliners and Cisco Systems outperforming. The S&P 500 dropped 2.03 points to 2,347.22, with energy leading six sectors lower and utilities the greatest advancer. The NASDAQ settled 4.54 points to 5,814.90 In corporate news, investors pored over quarterly results from CBS, Wendy's, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Marriott, to name a few reporting companies. 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 2.45% from Wednesday’s 2.5%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions. Oil prices regained 30 cents to $53.41 U.S. a barrel Gold prices added $7.20 to $1,240.30 U.S. an ounce.