Early Gains Seen for TSX

Investors Wary of U.S. Shutdown

Stocks in Canada’s largest stock index edged higher on Friday as broad-based gains offset losses for the energy group after oil prices fell.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index advanced 36.19 points to open the week’s last session at 16,320.66

The Canadian dollar slid 0.2 cents at 80.38 cents U.S.

Canadian Pacific Railway said on Thursday it is weighing strategic deals to boost crude-by-rail shipments in 2018, after reporting fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates.

CP shares gained $3.55, or 1.6%, to $230.70.

Credit Suisse raised the price target on Bank of Montreal to $107.00 from $103.00. BMO shares added 90 cents to $104.62.

RBC raised the target price on Maple Leaf Foods to $38.00 from $37.00. Maple Leaf shares gained 47 cents, or 1.3%, to $35.77.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported manufacturing sales rose 3.4% to a record high $55.5 billion in November, mainly due to higher sales in the transportation equipment, petroleum and coal product and chemical industries.

Investment by foreigners in Canadian securities amounted to $19.6 billion in November, mainly purchases of Canadian bonds. Meanwhile, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by $4.6 billion, following strong acquisitions in October.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange progressed 3.6 points to 880.39

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, as gold climbed 0.8%, materials took on 0.7%, and telecoms improved in price 0.4%.

The three laggards were energy, failing 0.7%, health-care, sinking 0.1%, and consumer discretionary stocks, falling 0.03%.

ON WALLSTREET

Blue chips fell in New York Friday, as investors assessed the possibility of a government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrials fell 32.17 points to 25,985.64

The S&P 500 gained 3.39 points to 2,801.42. The NASDAQ composite index added 10.09 points to 7,306.14

On Thursday, the House passed a bill to avoid a government shutdown. The bill is now in the Senate's hands, where 60 votes are needed to send it to President Donald Trump's desk. Republicans only hold 51 seats in the Senate.

Historically, a government shutdown has led to a short-term pullback in the stock market.

Mick Mulvaney, chief of the Office of Management and Budget, said Friday that odds of a shutdown occurring are 50-50.

Still, the major indexes were on track to post weekly gains. The Dow was up 0.8% for the week entering Friday's session, while the S&P 500 and NASDAQ were up 0.4% and 0.5%, respectively.

Earnings season kicked into full gear this week, with most results surpassing expectations. Of the companies that have reported quarterly results as of Friday morning, 79% have exceeded earnings expectations while 89% have surpassed sales estimates.

Morgan Stanley and American Express are among the companies that reported better-than-expected results this week.

In economic news, consumer sentiment data was scheduled for release at 10 a.m. ET.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note sagged, raising yields to 2.64% from Thursday’s 2.61%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 42 cents a barrel to $63.53 U.S.

Gold prices gained $6.70 to $1,333.90 U.S. an ounce.