TSX Up Slightly on Gold, Materials

Lumber Companies Also Rally

Canadian lumber companies jumped and the country’s marijuana producers fell on Friday, while heavyweight resource and financial stocks also moved in different directions, leaving the main Toronto equity index little changed in morning trading.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained positive 23.97 points to greet noon at 16,310.91

The Canadian dollar eked up 0.03 cents to 79.89 cents U.S.

Cannabis companies, which have risen sharply as they race to prepare for Canada’s legalization for recreational use, resumed their downward trend. Aphria fell 14.5% to $17.57 and Canopy Growth was down 15.1% to $31.88.

Lumber companies, whose softwood products are the subject of a trade spat between Canada and the United States, advanced, with Canfor Corp up 6.4% to $27.42 and West Fraser Timber Co Ltd rising 7.7% to $86.72.

Peyto Exploration and Development Corp surged 7.9% to $14.23 after saying it will cut its 2018 capital budget and dividend payouts.


The TSX Venture Exchange lost 7.97 points to 881.54

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups had moved into positive territory by midday, with gold leading the way, up 1.4%, materials better by 1%, and information technology higher 0.6%.

The five laggards were weighed most by health-care, sagging 3.4%, utilities, down 0.3%, and telecoms, down 0.2%.


Stocks rose to record highs on Friday after some of the major financial companies in the U.S. reported strong quarterly results.

The Dow Jones Industrials triumphed 198.68 points to reach lunch hour at 25,773.41. J.P. Morgan Chase was among the best-performing stocks in the index, rising 1%.

The S&P 500 acquired 14.38 points to 2,781.94, with industrial and consumer discretionary as the best-performing sectors.

The index was also enjoying its best 10-day start to a year since 2003. In that time period, the S&P 500 is up 4%. It gained 5.9% during the first 10 days of 2003.

The NASDAQ composite index zoomed 37.3 points to 7,249.08, and also hit an all-time high. Amazon shares rose 1.8% and broke above $1,300 U.S. for the first time.

U.S. markets will be shuttered Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

S&P 500 profits are expected to have risen 11.2% in the fourth quarter of last year. All 11 S&P 500 sectors, meanwhile, are expected to post increases in both earnings and revenue. This would be the first time since 2011 that all the sectors in the S&P 500 posted sales and profit growth for the same quarter.

Stocks have carried over the momentum from 2017 into the New Year thus far. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ have closed lower only once this year, while the Dow has fallen just twice. For 2018, the major averages were up at least 3.5% entering Friday's session.

For the week, they were on track to post gains of at least 1.2%. The Dow has outperformed the NASDAQ and S&P 500 this week, gaining 1.8%, as Boeing shares have soared 8.4%.

J.P. Morgan Chase, BlackRock and Wells Fargo all reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Recent data suggests the stateside economy is picking up steam. The U.S. Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index excluding the volatile food and energy components rose 0.3% last month. That was the biggest advance in the so-called core CPI since January.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note faded, raising yields to 2.56% from Thursday’s 2.54%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices moved higher by five cents a barrel to $63.85 U.S.

Gold prices added nine dollars to $1,331.50 U.S. an ounce.