TSX Keeps Gains despite Trade Data

Cascades, BlackBerry in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest market came off their highs of the morning Wednesday, despite prospects of a stronger global economic growth, as a contraction in trade surplus limited further gains.

The TSX remained buoyant 16.42 points, still, adding to Tuesday’s all-time high at 19,120.56.

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.28 cents at 79.26 cents U.S.

Blackberry stayed afloat 21 cents, or 1.9%, to $11.51, while Gildan Activewear soared 90 cents, or 2.2%, to $41.37.

Cascades Inc tumbled $1.13, or 6.9%, to $15.26, while Exchange Income Corp. swooned $1.75, or 4.3%, to $39.10.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported this country's merchandise exports decreased by 2.7% in February, while imports fell 2.4%. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade surplus with the world narrowed from $1.2 billion in January to $1.0 billion in February.

Also, the IVEY Purchasing Managers Index out of Western University catapulted to 72.9 in March, towering above the 60.0 reading in February, and racing away from the 26.0 figure for March 2020.

Moreover, Canadian M&A activity in the first three months of the year
catapulted to an all-time high as deal-making recovered from the coronavirus fallout, and bankers point to a healthy pipeline of transactions underpinned by easy financing conditions.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange fell 5.59 points to 958.39.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups remained in plus territory midday, with consumer staples up 0.6%, while real-estate and information technology each cleared breakeven by 0.5%.

The five laggards were weighed most by health-care, down 2.1%, while energy slid 0.6%, and gold lost 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks were little changed Wednesday, with the S&P 500 hovering near its record high as investors awaited details from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrials fell 33.11 points by noon hour EDT to 33,397.13.

The S&P 500 regained 1.44 points, to 4,075.38

The NASDAQ Composite hesitated 3.44 points to 13,694.94.

Shares of reopening plays airlines and cruise lines led the gains, continuing their recent run. Carnival climbed 3.6%, while Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line gained more than 2% each. Shares of Southwest Airlines and United both rose over 1%.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was optimistic about the U.S. economic comeback from the pandemic in his widely read annual letter released on Wednesday.

"I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the U.S. economy will likely boom," Dimon said in the letter. "This boom could easily run into 2023 because all the spending could extend well into 2023."

The Federal Open Market Committee will publish the minutes from its March meeting, where the central bank opted to leave interest rates unchanged, on Wednesday. The minutes could offer investors a clue as to when the Fed might hike interest rates.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday raised its 2021 growth outlook for the global economy to 6%, up from January’s forecast of 5.5%. The organization said that "a way out of this health and economic crisis is increasingly visible." The IMF did, however, warn of "daunting challenges" given the varied pace of vaccine rollouts around the world.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys were higher, lowering yields to 1.64%, from Tuesday’s 1.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices sank $1.04 to $58.29 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices lost $1.80 to $1,741.20 U.S. an ounce.