Stocks Start Wednesday with Moderate Gains

Ford, Qualcomm in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest centre rose on Wednesday, boosted by the heavyweight financial sector and as shares of energy companies were lifted by higher oil prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 53.4 points to open Wednesday at 15,700.54

The Canadian dollar eked up 0.07 cents to 77.24 cents U.S.

Canaccord Genuity cut the price target on Bellatrix Exploration to $1.75 from $2.25. Bellatrix dropped a penny to $1.47.

CIBC initiated coverage on Petrus Resources with a neutral rating, and a price target of $1.50. Petrus fell one cent to $1.20.

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it had made a preliminary finding that some imports from Canada of uncoated groundwood paper used

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange acquired 1.64 points to 830.69

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive to begin the mid-week session as materials and consumer staples picked up 0.6% each, and financials improved 0.4%.

The four laggards were weighed most by telecoms, down 0.3%, while real-estate tailed off 0.1% and health-care eased 0.04%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks were little changed Wednesday after posting their worst session in nearly two weeks during the previous session as investors shrugged off fears of a global trade war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 67.25 points to 24,939.78, as gains in UnitedHealth and 3M contributed the most to the blue-chip index.

The S&P 500 sank 2.38 points to 2,762.93

The NASDAQ composite Index dropped 3.66 points to 7,507.35, as Amazon and Microsoft traded higher.

Ford Motor Company's stock rallied more than 4% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the company to overweight from underweight. The bank sees more potential in the American motor vehicle company following "significant changes" to senior management at the company and its efforts to improve its global portfolio.

Shares of Qualcomm fell more than 1.5% after Broadcom announced that it is formally ending its hostile bid for the American chipmaker. Qualcomm stock fell nearly 5% Tuesday after President Trump ordered Broadcom to abandon the deal.

German apparel company Adidas climbed more than 12% after it revised upward its long-term profit target and said it would propose a higher dividend.

In economic data, U.S. producer prices increased slightly more than expected in February. The U.S. Department of Labor said on Wednesday that its producer price index rose 0.2% last month; economists had expected PPI gaining 0.1%.

So-called core PPI — which excludes volatile food, energy and trade service prices — rose 0.4%.

The Commerce Department said retail sales declined for a third straight month on Wednesday as households curbed purchases of cars and other expensive items. Economists had been expecting sales to rise 0.3%.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note inched forward, lowering yields to 2.83% from Tuesday’s 2.84%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices inched up 19 cents a barrel to $60.90 U.S.

Gold prices settled $3.70 to $1,323.40 U.S. an ounce.