Stocks Gain on Energy Prospects

Uni-Select, Marathon in Focus


Equities in Canada’s largest centre opened higher on Wednesday, lifted by energy shares which tracked higher oil prices, while hopes that the coronavirus outbreak could be peaking in the United States helped broader sentiment.

The TSX Composite Index gained 65.73 points at 13,679.87,

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.04 cents to 71.30 cents U.S.

More than two dozen employees of Denver-based shale producer Ovintiv sent form letters this week to Texas energy regulators opposing any state-mandated oil production cuts in the face of plunging energy prices. Shares in Ovintiv gained 31 cents, or 5.9%, to $5.54.

Canaccord Genuity cut the target price on Laurentian Bank to $23.00 from $32.00. Laurentian retreated 39 cents, or 1.3%, to $30.19.

National Bank of Canada raises price target on Marathon Gold to $2.50 from $2.25. Marathon shares gained three cents, or 2.5%, to $1.22.

BMO cut the target price on Uni-Select to $5.00 from $12.00. Uni-Select gained 18 cents, or 4%, to $4.68.

Economically speaking, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported housing starts registered at 195,200, compared to the expected 172,500, and to 210,100 in February.

Statistics Canada said building permits decreased 7.3% to $8.6 billion in February, driven by the residential component. Declines were reported in five provinces, with the largest decrease reported in British Columbia (-39.2% to $1.3 billion).

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange poked ahead 2.59 points to 405.14.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups started the day in plus territory, with energy rumbling ahead 1.6%, gold better by 1.5%, and materials improving 1.4%.

The three laggards were communications, down 0.7%, while consumer staples fell 0.1%, and financials eased lower 0.01%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Wednesday amid hope the U.S. could start to turn a corner on the coronavirus outbreak in the near future

The Dow Jones Industrials recovered 110.86 points to 22,764.72.

The S&P 500 revived 15.55 points to 2,674.96

The NASDAQ Composite regained 47.04 points to 7,934.

Stocks pressured by the coronavirus outbreak led the way higher. Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean all advanced at least 2.5%. MGM Resorts gained 2.7% while Wynn Resorts climbed 2.8%. American led airline stocks higher with a 3.8% jump. United traded higher 0.5%, and Delta Airlines picked up 1.9%.

In the U.S., the number of daily increases in coronavirus cases has fallen since Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Daily increases in global cases have also fallen since then.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the media on Wednesday that the U.S. death count related to the coronavirus is now lower than initially thought, noting there should be a turnaround after this week. He added, however, virus efforts should be intensified.

However, some investors believe equities were getting ahead of the reality where coronavirus shutdowns are likely to weigh on the economy significantly beyond the second quarter. The major averages have rallied about 20% from their March 23 lows.

The Federal Open Market Committee is set to publish its meeting minutes from its March meeting. In an emergency decision ahead of that meeting, the Fed cut interest rates to zero, for the first time since the financial crisis.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury lost ground, lifting yields to 0.75% from Tuesday’s 0.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices regained $1.23 to $24.86 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $6.10 to $1,682.90 U.S. an ounce.