Stocks Stumble at Open

Celestica, Goeasy in Focus

Canada's main stock index fell on Thursday as declines for financials and shares of Celestica Inc weighed, offsetting gains for energy shares as oil prices rose.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index demurred 41.31 points to open Thursday at 16,242.90

The Canadian dollar popped 0.25 cents at 81.2 cents U.S.

Celestica, for its part, faded 91 cents, or 6.7%, to $12.70.

Desjardins raised the price target on Goeasy Ltd. to $43.00 from $42.00. Goeasy shares docked 11 cents to $37.99.

Desjardins raised the price target on Stella-Jones to $54.00 from $49.00. The construction company took on 21 cents to $50.82.

Canaccord Genuity raised the price target on WSP Global to $61.00 from $58.00. WSP shed 72 cents, or 1.2%, to $60.40.

Statistics Canada said retail sales increased for the third consecutive month in November, rising 0.2% to $50.1 billion. Sales were up in six of 11 sub-sectors, representing 37% of total retail trade.

Furthermore, the nation’s number crunchers said average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $988 in November, increasing 0.6% from October. Compared with 12 months earlier, earnings were up 2.8%, with most of the gains having occurred since July 2017.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said even he did not know what potential there may be for further interest rate hikes this year, reiterating that policymakers remained both data dependent and alert to developments with North American Free Trade Agreement.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange lost 5.46 points to start Thursday at 888.13

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower in the first hour, with health-care sliding 3.2%, gold down 1.3%, and materials capsizing 0.8%.

The three gainers were energy, inching up 0.2%, while consumer staples and real-estate eked up 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks opened sharply higher on Thursday on the back of stronger-than-expected quarterly results from Caterpillar and 3M.

The Dow Jones Industrials improved on Wednesday’s all-time record by 56.04 points to 26,308.16

The S&P 500 slid 0.59 points to 2,837.03, with materials and information technology as the best-performing sectors.

The tech-heavy NASDAQ stepped back 4.16 points to 7,410.90

Shares of Caterpillar rose 2.3% while 3M gained 0.3%. Celgene and McCormick also reported better-than-forecast quarterly earnings and sales.

Calendar fourth-quarter earnings and sales have mostly beat analyst expectations thus far. Of the companies that have reported quarterly results, 77% have beaten earnings expectations, while 79% have surpassed revenue estimates

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note inched back, raising yields to 2.66% from Wednesday’s 2.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 51 cents a barrel to $66.12 U.S.

Gold prices faltered 50 cents to $1,355.80 U.S. an ounce.