Stocks Welcome New Year with Rally

Cannabis Firms Make Loudest Statements

Stocks in Canada staged a wonderful entrance to 2018, with strength in health-care and energy carrying the day.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index climbed 100.86 points to close the year’s first session at 16,309.99

The Canadian dollar regained 0.3 cents to 79.95 cents U.S.

Aurora Cannabis jumped $2.14, or 22.3% to $11.74 after saying it sold cannabis worth $3.1 million in November, its highest ever.

A string of other marijuana companies also gained, as Canada moves to legalize the production, sale and consumption of recreational marijuana by July 2018, with Canopy Growth up $2.54, or 8.5%, to $32.28 and Aphria adding $1.14, or 7.7%, to $20.14.

Energy stocks reached for the stars, too, as Suncor gained 69 cents, or 1.5%, to $46.84, while TransCanada added 52 cents to $61.70

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners as well as fertilizer companies, added strength. Barrick Gold rose 83 cents, or 4.6%, to $19.01 and Kirkland Lake Gold gained 77 cents, or 4%, to $20.04 as gold prices hit a three-month peak.

Telecoms weighed mostly heavily on the losing groups, as Shaw Communications fell 13 cents to $28.56, while Rogers Communications surrendered 98 cents, or 1.5%, to $63.07.

Utilities got slightly bruised, too, as Fortis dropped 58 cents, or 1.3%, to $45.53.

The seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index pointed to the strongest improvement in business conditions since September, leaping to 54.7, from 54.4 in November. The headline index has posted above the 50.0 no-change threshold in each month since March 2016.


The TSX Venture Exchange moved 20.35 points, or 2.4%, higher Tuesday to 871.07

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided, with health-care shooting away from the competition, gaining 4.6%, energy stronger by 2.3%, and materials mightier by 2.1%

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by telecoms, off 1%, utilities subsiding 0.5%, and real-estate waning 0.2%.


U.S. stocks kicked off the New Year on a high note on Tuesday as Wall Street bet on another strong year for equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 104.79 points to finish the first session of 2018 at 24,824.01, with Disney shares climbing 4%.

The S&P 500 improved 22.18 points to 2,695.79, notching intraday and closing records, with consumer discretionary, energy materials and tech all rising more than 1%.

The NASDAQ composite index sprung up 103.51 points, or 1.5%, higher, to 7,006.90. The index also closed above 7,000 for the first time.

Equities had a banner year in 2017, with the three major indexes notching all-time highs. The S&P 500, Dow and NASDAQ gained 19.4%, 25.1% and 28.2%, respectively.

Disney's stock rose after Macquarie upgraded it to outperform from neutral, pointing out the company's "distribution leverage and optionality, concentration of valuable IP, which will only grow with the Fox acquisition, and continued theatrical momentum."

Disney's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" remained atop the weekend box office, raking in $68.4 million U.S. in North American ticket sales.

Meanwhile, shares of Target rose 3.6% after Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster predicted the retailer will be bought by Amazon.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note skidded, raising yields to 2.46% from Friday’s 2.41%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gave back four cents a barrel to $60.38 U.S.

Gold prices gained $10.70 to $1,320.00 U.S. an ounce.