Stocks Modestly Higher at Open

Investors Take in GDP Figures

Equities in Canada’s largest centre opened marginally higher on Wednesday, with most sectors rising, led by technology and health-care.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index recovered 23.61 points to kick off Wednesday at 15,979.12

The Canadian dollar rocketed 0.33 cents to 81.39 cents U.S.

U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group LP catapulted itself into the major leagues of Wall Street’s financial information industry on Tuesday with the acquisition of a majority stake in the Financial and Risk business of Thomson Reuters Corp. National Bank cut the target price on the company’s stock to $60.00 from $68.00

Thomson Reuters shares declined $1.53, or 2.7%, to $55.84.

CIBC cut the price target on Fairfax Financial Holdings to $700.00 from $725.00. Fairfax shares gave back $1.29 to $644.71

RBC cut the target price on Loblaw Companies to $84.00 from $87.00. The grocer’s stock dropped 11 cents to $66.92.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported that gross domestic product increased 0.4% in November – in line with analyst expectations -- with widespread growth across industries as 17 of 20 industrial sectors increased.

Analysts will now look to see whether the details in the report are strong enough to get fourth-quarter growth to the 2.5% pace the Bank of Canada anticipates.

Elsewhere, the agency’s Industrial Product Price Index was found to have edged down 0.1% in December, mainly due to lower prices for energy and petroleum products and primary non-ferrous metal products. The Raw Materials Price Index decreased 0.9%, primarily due to lower prices for crude energy products.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange regained 8.38 points, or 1%, to 866.71

Eight of 12 TSX subgroups were higher in the first hour, with health-care soaring 2.4%, information technology surging 1%, and telecoms better by 0.3%.

The four laggards were weighed most by financials, backtracking 0.2%, while consumer staples and gold each lost 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks opened sharply higher on Wednesday, rebounding from a strong two-day sell-off as corporate earnings keep beating expectations.

The Dow Jones industrial average recouped 188.81 points to 26,265.70, with shares of Boeing contributing more than half of those gains.
The aerospace giant's stock popped 6.6% and reached an all-time high.

The S&P 500 improved 9.7 points to 2,832.13, with industrials and tech as the best-performing sectors.

The NASDAQ replaced 34.28 points to 7,436.76

Boeing, Eli Lilly and, Anthem among the latest companies that reported quarterly results. Their earnings and revenues topped analyst expectations. Thus far, corporate earnings have mostly surpassed analyst expectations.

Of the S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Tuesday morning, 80% have posted better-than-expected earnings, while 81% have beaten top-line estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.

In economic news, Wall Street also turned to Washington with the Federal Reserve scheduled to release its latest monetary policy decision at 2 p.m. ET. Market expectations for a rate hike were just 5.2% on Wednesday.

In economic news, ADP and Moody's Analytics Wednesday said private companies added 234,000 jobs in January. Economists expected a gain of 185,000. The report serves as a preview to the U.S. government's monthly jobs report, which is scheduled for release Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Other data set for release Wednesday include the Chicago purchasing manager index (PMI) at 9:45 a.m. ET and pending home sales data at 10 a.m. ET.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note were unchanged, keeping yields at Tuesday’s 2.72%.

Oil prices doffed 12 cents a barrel to $64.38 U.S.

Gold prices picked up $7.20 to $1,347.20 U.S. an ounce.