Slight Gains for TSX at Open

Altagas, GOOS in Focus

Canada's main stock index inched forward at the open on Thursday as gold stocks carried the index.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index acquired 30.12 points to kick off Thursday at 16,295.94

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.18 cents at 76.9 cents U.S.
Canadian National Railway said it plans to invest around $210 million in Quebec this year to expand its railway network across the province.

CN shares gained 78 cents to $109.09.

Enbridge started construction of the offshore border crossing section of its $1.6-billion Valley Crossing natural gas pipeline between Texas and Mexico, according to a U.S. federal filing made available on Wednesday.

Shares in the gas company rocketed 40 cents, or 1%, to $42.53.

National Bank of Canada raised the price target on Altagas Ltd. to $29 from $28. Altagas shares hiked 42 cents, or 1.6%, to $26.21.

Barclays raised the target price on Canada Goose Holdings to $64.00 from $50.00. Canada Goose acquired 99 cents, or 1.7%, to $59.79.

On the economic ledger, Statistics Canada reported new house prices in Canada were unchanged for a second consecutive month, despite increases in some pockets across the country.

Italy will not ratify the European Union's free trade agreement with Canada because it does not ensure sufficient protection for the country's specialty foods, new Agriculture Minister Gian Marco Centinaio said in a newspaper interview.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange shed 0.69 points to 759.48

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive in the first hour of trading, as gold soared 0.9%, information technology gained 0.5%, and industrials improved 0.4%.

The three laggards were telecoms, down 0.4%, health-care, off 0.2%, and real-estate, settling 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Thursday as sentiment on Wall Street was lifted by economic data that blew past expectations and dealmaking activity in the media sector.

The Dow Jones Industrials hoisted 110.1 points to 25,311.30, with Disney as the best-performing stock in the index.

The S&P 500 revived 11.81 points to 2,787.44, as the telecommunications sector led nine of 11 sectors higher.

The NASDAQ jumped 57.87 points to 7,753.57

Investors cheered dealmaking news, as shares of 21st Century Fox rose 1.5% after NBCUniversal-parent Comcast announced a bid to buy several major units of the media giant for $65 billion. Comcast's bid tops Disney's, who agreed to a $52.4-billion deal. Comcast shares rose 4% while Disney gained 1.6%

The news comes a day after a judge approved AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. Last year, the Justice Department sued to block the merger, arguing it would potentially lead to higher prices for the consumer. AT&T shares rose 0.8%, while Time Warner also gained 0.8%.

Thursday's moves come after U.S. stocks closed lower after the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday a new rate hike and indicated that two other increases are possible until the end of the year. As a result, the Dow fell about 120 points as traders expect that the higher rates will bring higher costs for companies.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.8% in May, well above an economist estimate of 0.4%. That also marked the biggest gain in retail sales since November.

The U.S. Labor Department also reported that weekly jobless claims fell to a more-than-44-year-low last week, pointing to a tightening jobs market.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury were lower, raising yields to 2.96% from Wednesday’s 2.98%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices picked up 29 cents to $66.93 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices jumped $5.40 at $1,306.70 U.S. an ounce.