TSX Tenaciously Hangs onto Gains

Materials, Energy Prove Leaders

Canada's main stock index rose on Thursday, led by materials and energy shares as oil prices rose, while domestic retail sales data reinforced expectations the Bank of Canada is on hold until next year.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index held onto gains of 10.95 points to greet noon on Thursday at 16,084.53

The Canadian dollar subtracted 0.03 cents to 78.67 cents U.S.

The energy group gained, with Enbridge climbing 0.5% to $47.22.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added strength, as Barrick Gold Corp rose 1.1% to $18.16.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Lundin Mining, which rose 2.7% to $9.75, while the largest decliner was Nexgen Energy, down 3.6% to $3.26

Health-care issues went south, as Valeant Pharmaceuticals demurred 17 cents to $20.86, while Canopy Growth dipped 18 cents to $19.17.

In the consumer discretionary field, Canadian Tire faded 67 cents to $160.43, while Magna International dropped a dollar, or 1.5%, to $68.01.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported that those drawing employment insurance in September decreased by 11,600, or 2.2%, in September to 509,900. This decline follows a 2.4% decrease in August and continues the downward trend that began in October 2016.

Elsewhere, retail sales edged up 0.1% to $49.1 billion in September. Higher sales at gasoline stations, particularly due to higher prices, were the main contributor to the gain. Excluding sales in this sub-sector, retail sales declined 0.2%.

Economists said sales were to have rebounded to 0.9% from a 0.3% fall in the previous month.

The Trudeau government said Canada will create up to 100,000 affordable housing units as part of a national housing strategy, but critics said the long-awaited plan did nothing to free up more land to help stem a growing affordability crisis.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dipped 1.01 points to 790.48

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups gained ground, with materials picking up 0.5%, energy, up 0.4%, and gold, improving 0.3%.

The five laggards were weighed most by health-care settling 0.6%, while consumer discretionary and financial concerns weakened 0.3% each.

Gold prices retreated 71 cents to $1,291.44 U.S. an ounce.

ON WALLSTREET

Markets south of the border are closed for Thanksgiving. They will reopen Friday for an abbreviated session.