Stocks Gain at Outset

ECN, Empire in Focus

Canada's main stock index gained in early trading on Friday, as auto parts maker Linamar Corp jumped on news of a $1.2-billion deal to buy an agricultural equipment maker, and heavyweight energy and financial stocks also rose.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index regained 58.68 points to open Friday at 16,075.14

The Canadian dollar erased 0.03 cents to 78.13 cents U.S.

Linamar’s purchase of privately held MacDon Group to strengthen its presence in the agricultural equipment market.

Linamar shares barreled higher $5.69, or 8.8%, to $70.71.

TD Securities raised the price target on K Bro Linen to $48.00 from $45.00. K Bro shares tacked on nine cents to $42.59.

RBC cut the price target on ECN Capital to $4.50 from $5.00. ECN shares lost seven cents, or 1.8%, to $3.80.

TD Securities raised the price target on Empire Company to $26.00 from $25.00. Empire shares jumped 26 cents, or 1.1%, to $24.09.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada revealed that manufacturing sales declined 0.4% to $53.5 billion in October, following two consecutive monthly increases.

Sales of motor vehicles and other transportation equipment accounted for most of the decline in October

Elsewhere, the Canadian Real Estate Association said national home sales rose 3.9% from October to November.

Actual (not seasonally-adjusted) activity was up 2.6% from November 2016. The number of newly listed homes climbed 3.5% from October to November.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 5.02 points to 803.22

All 12 TSX subgroups gained ground in Friday’s first hour, as consumer discretionary, information technology and material stocks all surged 0.9% each.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday as investors awaited the release of a Republican tax bill that would slash corporate taxes.

The Dow Jones Industrials hiked 106.39 points to begin the week’s last session at 24,615.66

The S&P 500 recouped 13.79 points to 2,665.80, with telecommunications and staples as the best-performing sectors.

The NASDAQ composite index restored 31.3 points to 6,887.82

In corporate news, shares of Hess jumped 3.4% after reports that Elliott Management is pushing for CEO John Hess to step down or for the company to sell all or part of its business.

Meanwhile, Costco shares rose 4% after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales.

Equities were on track to post slight weekly gains. The Dow was up 0.7%, and NASDAQ acquired 0.2%, entering Friday's session. The S&P 500 was just a shade higher for the week.

The plan will likely cut the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%. Expectations of lower corporate taxes have helped boost stocks to record levels this year. Entering Friday's session, the S&P 500 had risen 18.5%.

The bill is expected to be released later on Friday.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note lost ground, raising yields to 2.37% from Thursday’s 2.35%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 20 cents a barrel to $57.24 U.S.

Gold prices moved up 90 cents to $1,258.00 U.S. an ounce.