Health-care drives TSX upward

Bausch in focus

Equities in Toronto opened slightly higher on Monday as weakness in energy shares offset gains in materials sector, which was supported by higher gold prices.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index acquired 31.35 points to begin the day and the week at 16,355.06

The Canadian dollar strengthened 0.53 cents to 76.54 cents

Among health-care concerns, Bausch Health took 57 cents, or 2%, to $29.19, while Aurora Cannabis exploded 43 cents, or 6.6%, to $6.93.
Canaccord Genuity cut the price target on Just Energy Group to $4.50 from $5.25. Just docked 2.5 cents to $3.99.

Eight Capital raised the price target on Ascendant Resources to $1.20 from $1.10. Ascendant shares were unchanged at 55 cents.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 1.16 points to 679.17

Seven of the 12 subgroups are higher, with health-care soaring 3.5%, while materials and real-estate each advanced 0.4%.

The five laggards were consumer staples, down 0.7%, information technology, sliding 0.4%, and utilities, slipped 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Monday as investors cheered corporate deal-making activity, with the major indexes approaching record levels.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average skyward 110.59 points to 25,669.32, with Nike outperforming.

The S&P 500 picked up 9.44 points to 2,850.13, led by gains in materials

The NASDAQ regained 9.81 points to 7,816.33.

Stocks kicked off this week within striking distance of reaching all-time highs. The S&P 500 was just 0.8% below a record set on Jan. 26, while the Dow was 3.6% and the NASDAQ 1.5%, below their all-time highs.

This week could also be record-setting for Wall Street for another reason. On Wednesday, the bull market turns 3,453 days old. Barring a 20% decline between now and then, some strategists believe it would mark the longest bull market in history.

Many strategists believe the current bull market started on March 9, 2009. Since then, the S&P 500 has surged more than 300%.

PepsiCo agreed to buy SodaStream for $3.2 billion, or $144 per share. The agreed price per share represents a 10.9% premium from SodaStream's closing price of $129.85 on Friday. The deal is expected to close by January. SodaStream shares rose about 10%.

Meanwhile, Tyson Foods confirmed it was buy Keystone Foods, a chicken-processing company, for $2.16 billion in cash.

Nike shares rose more than 2% after Piper Jaffray upgraded the athletic apparel maker to overweight from neutral and raised their price target to $93 a share from $72. The stock traded around $82 per share.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 2.84% from Friday’s 2.87%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices added 21 cents at $66.12 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gathered $8.10 to $1,192.30 U.S. an ounce.