Stocks Spread Wings by Noon

Echelon, Semafo in Focus

Canada's main stock index rose to a 2-1/2-week high on Wednesday led by gold producers, as investors sought shelter in the precious metal ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index moved skyward 139.65 points to greet noon at 15,579.09

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.19 cents to 78.87 cents U.S.

Wealthsimple, a Toronto-based online wealth management startup, has raised $51 million in funding from Power Financial Corp., as it seeks to compete in the increasingly crowded digital investment advice market.

By midday, Power Financial had gained 38 cents, or 1.2%, to $33.36

CIBC raised the rating on Capital Power Corp. to outperform from neutral. Capital Power took on seven cents to $24.23.

Capital Power faded 14 cents to $24.02.

BMO cut the rating on Canadian REIT to market perform from outperform. Units of Canadian REIT docked nine cents to $50.05.

BMO cut the rating on Echelon Financial Holdings to underperform from market perform. Echelon shares dropped two cents to $12.88.

Desjardins cut the price target on Semafo Inc. to $5.00 from $5.50. Semafo gained five cents, or 1.4%, to $3.33.

RBC raised the target price on Western Forest Products to $3.00 from $2.50. Western shares hiked five cents, or 1.8%, to $2.83.


The TSX Venture Exchange nicked up 1.24 points to 834.06

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive by the middle of the day, with industrials, financials and materials each up 1.4%.

The four laggards were weighed mostly by information technology, sinking 0.9%, while consumer staples were down 0.6%, and energy was off 0.1%.


U.S. stocks traded higher on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of a meeting summary from the Federal Reserve. The major averages got a boost from a rise in industrials and financials stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrials had come off its highs of the morning, but was up 76.16 points to 25,040.91. United Technologies was the best-performing stock in the index, advancing 2%.

The S&P 500 gained 12.38 points to 2,728.64, with industrials and financials as the best-performing sectors.

The NASDAQ recouped 53.11 points to 7,287.42, as shares of Facebook, Netflix and Alphabet all traded higher

In corporate news, Advance Auto Parts was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500, rising more than 11% after reporting better-than-expected earnings. The company said it is pleased with its performance given what it calls a difficult sales environment.

Apple, meanwhile, climbed 0.7% after a report said the company is in talks to buy cobalt supplies for iPhone batteries directly from miners.

In data news, the flash U.S. composite purchasing managers' index rose to its highest level in more than two year, reaching 55.9, according to IHS Markit. Meanwhile, existing home sales fell for a second straight month in January.

The Fed will release the minutes from its January meeting at 2 p.m. ET. Wall Street will be looking for clues about inflation and interest rates.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note were lower, raising yields to 2.9% from Tuesday’s 2.89%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 19 cents a barrel to $61.60 U.S.

Gold prices slid 80 cents to $1,330.40 U.S. an ounce.