Materials, Gold Carry TSX to Record High

Iamgold, CannTrust in Focus

Equity markets in Canada hit a record high on Thursday, powered by gains in commodity-linked materials and energy sectors.

The S&P/TSX gained 92.13 points to greet noon at 16,892.42

The Canadian dollar added 0.22 cents at 75.35 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were shares of gold miners Iamgold, which jumped eight cents, or 1.8%, to $4.66, followed by those of Barrick Gold, which rose 65 cents, or 2.8%, to $24.05.

CannTrust Holdings recovered from early losses and registered a noon-time gain of 11 cents, or 6.4%, to 1.83.

West Fraser Timber continued to struggle, however, dropping $1.12, or 2%, to $55.05.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada said 450,600 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in July, up 5,100, or 1.1%, from June.

The number of EI beneficiaries increased in seven provinces, notably in New Brunswick and Alberta. In contrast, there was a decline in Quebec, while there was little change in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as in Manitoba.

Elsewhere, this country added 49,300 jobs in August as hiring in the trade, transportation and utilities sector led broad-based gains, according to a report from ADP released on Thursday.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange slumped 1.94 points to 582.97

All but one of the 12 Toronto subgroups remained stronger, with gold brighter 1.6%, materials better 1.2%, and consumer staples progressing 1%

Only health-care faltered, down 1.8%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 drew close to its record high on Thursday as gains in Microsoft, AT&T and other technology companies offset what many investors considered an underwhelming decision by the Federal Reserve in the prior session.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its highs of the morning, but still gained 92.35 points to 27,239.43, as Microsoft led the blue-chip index higher.

The S&P 500 tacked on 12.87 points to 3,019.60, was about 0.3% away from its all-time high.

The NASDAQ Composite hiked 42.32 points to 8,219.72, amid strength in Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet.

Still, the prospect of forward progress between the two sides appeared to buoy shares of technology companies across the board, with Advanced Micro Devices up 1.3% and Micron up 0.6%.

Software giant Microsoft, meanwhile, climbed over 2% after announcing Wednesday evening that it authorized another $40 billion for share buybacks and will raise its quarterly dividend by five cents to 51 cents per share.

The modest optimism on Thursday came amid a new round of face-to-face talks between Chinese and American officials, starting in Washington later Thursday. The two-day negotiations are aimed at preparing for high-level talks in early October that will determine whether Washington and Beijing can progress toward a deal or resume the imposition of higher tariffs.

Wall Street ended Wednesday little changed after the Fed approved a rate cut of one quarter point, but offered little for investors hoping for hints that the central bank would lower borrowing costs toward the end of 2019. Officials continued to describe the U.S. labour market as “strong” and characterized Gross Domestic Product growth as “moderate.”

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury moved up, lowering yields to 1.77% from Wednesday’s 1.80%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices regrouped 34 cents to $58.45 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices deleted 10 dollars to $1,505.70 U.S. an ounce.