TSX Finishes in Black

Boeing Acquires Lift

Markets in Toronto steadily climbed, largely on the strength of energy stocks, which overcame heavy losses in the health-care field.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 38.99 points to conclude business Thursday at 16,286.94

The Canadian dollar eked up 0.03 cents to 79.83 cents U.S.

The energy group climbed, as crude oil prices pushed higher, with Cenovus Energy up 58 cents, or 4.4% at $13.69, and Canadian Natural Resources rising 29 cents to $46.09.

The most influential weights on the index included Shaw Communications, which fell 78 cents, or 2.8%, to $27.16 after reporting quarterly earnings that missed expectations.

Marijuana producers also weighed, with Aphria down $2.02, or 9%, at $20.56 and Canopy Growth Corp off $4.20, or 10%, at $37.72.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, added strength as Alamos Gold fell 55 cents, or 6.9%, to $7.39 while Yamana Gold Inc rose 20 cents, or 5%, to $4.19 after each miner provided a business update to investors.

Consumer staples suffered, though, with Loblaw Companies docking 34 cents to $67.19, while Restaurant Brands International failed to get off its perch of $76.65.

On the economic slate, Canadians saw little overall change in new home prices in November, according to Statistics Canada.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange tumbled 21.33 points, or 2.3%, to 889.51

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided between those prospering and those falling. Energy proved the most energetic, picking up 1.4%, while materials improved 0.9% and industrials gained 0.6%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most heavily by health-care stocks, plummeting 4.8%, while consumer staples tailed off 0.7%, and real-estate lost 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

The big board of blue chips took its gaze skyward Thursday, being lifted to new all-time highs, as investors bet economic growth would pick up steam.

The Dow Jones Industrials leaped 205.6 points to close Thursday at 25,574.73, with Boeing as the biggest contributor of gains. Boeing is one of the companies that stand to benefit the most if economic growth ratchets up.

The S&P 500 acquired 19.33 points to 2,767.56, and reached an all-time high, with energy surging on the back of rising oil prices.

The NASDAQ composite index gained 58.21 points to 7,211.78, also hitting a record high, as shares of Apple gained 0.6%.

In corporate news, Wal-Mart said it will raise its starting wage to $11.00 per hour and will give some employees bonuses following the tax-bill passage.

Delta Air Lines reported adjusted earnings that surpassed analyst expectations, sending the company's stock 4.8% higher. Homebuilder KB Home also posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit; the stock rose 12.3%.

BlackRock, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are all scheduled to report Friday. Earnings are expected to have grown by 10.6% during the fourth quarter

In economic news, U.S. producer prices fell for the first time in more than a year.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note regained strength, lowering yields to 2.54% from Wednesday’s 2.55%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices tacked on two cents a barrel to $63.59 U.S.

Gold prices gained $3.40 to $1,322.70 U.S. an ounce.