TSX Turns from Red to Green

Altagas, HEXO in Focus


Equities in Toronto came out of the dungeon, on reassurances from the World Health Organization that a full-blown health warning was not merited in light of the spread of the coronavirus from China.

The TSX Composite Index acquired 21.92 points to close Thursday at 17,621.78

The Canadian dollar regained 0.08 cents to 76.17 cents U.S.

Utilities were the chief gainer Thursday, with Altagas taking on 39 cents, or 2%, to $20.27, while Hydro One jumped 32 cents, or 1.2%, to $26.60.

In health-care, HEXO popped six cents, or 3.2%, to $1.96, while Canopy Growth climbing 45 cents, or 1.4%, to $32.25.

Among consumer staples, Maple Leaf Foods surged 97 cents, or 3.9%, to $25.78, while Cott Corporation sprang up 15 cents, or 2.7%, to $19.46.

Energy stocks slumped, with Baytex Energy fading 11 cents, or 6.4%, to $1.61, while Enerplus dropped 15 cents, or 4%, to $7.25.

Materials also misfired, with First Quantum down 59 cents, or 4.7%, to $11.97, and Labrador Iron Ore Royalty sank 98 cents, or 4.2%, to $22.15.

In gold stocks, Alacer Gold dropped 48 cents, or 7.1%, to $6.30, while Centerra Gold let go of 20 cents, or 2%, to $9.67

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada told us that in November, 451,000 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits, virtually unchanged from the previous month.

Increases in numbers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nova Scotia were offset by slight declines in other provinces.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange docked 2.98 points to 582.38

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were in the plus category, as utilities gained 0.6%, health-care was 0.4% haler, and consumer staples acquired 0.2%.

The three laggards were energy, down 0.9%, materials, inching lower 0.2%, and gold, dulling 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks closed little changed on Thursday, recovering most of their losses from earlier in the session, after the World Health Organization quelled some of the fears around the deadly coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its lows of the day, but remained negative 26.18 points to finish at 29,160.09

The S&P 500 eked higher 3.79 points at 3,325.54

The NASDAQ powered ahead 18.71 points to a new all-time high close of 9,402.48

The WHO said it was a “bit too early to consider this event is a public health emergency of international concern.”

American Airlines rose 5.4% on the back of that comment while United Airlines closed 1.9% higher. Gilead Sciences rose 0.8% while Inovio Pharmaceuticals surged 11.6%.

Investors had been fretting over the virus as the number of confirmed cases topped 600. The virus originated in Wuhan, China and cases have now been reported in Singapore and the U.S.

In the U.S., investors also pored through the latest batch of corporate earnings results. Comcast and Travelers both reported better-than-expected quarterly figures. However, Comcast dipped 3.8% while Travelers slid 5.1%.

More than 12% of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings. Of those companies, about 70% have beaten analyst expectations
On the data front, stateside weekly jobless claims rose less than expected to 211,000 from 205,000 the week before.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 1.73% from Wednesday’s 1.77%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.10 to $55.64 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices advanced $5.30 to $1,562.00 U.S. an ounce.