Stocks Head into Long Weekend on High Note

Markets in U.S., Canada Closed Monday

Equities in Toronto came off their highs of the day, but still finished an enormously successful week on a positive note, led by strength among utility and consumer stocks

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 44.98 points to end the day and the week at 15,452.64. Yet, despite the gains of the past few days, the index is still around 750 points lower than it was to end 2017.

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.47cents to 79.64 cents U.S.

Markets on both sides of the border will be taking Monday off, the U.S. for Presidents Day, Canada for Family Day

Utilities (pardon the pun) led the charge, with Fortis Inc. prospering $1.55, or 3.8%, to $42.11, while Hydro One gaining 33 cents, or 1.6%, to $20.80.

In the consumer staples field, Loblaw Companies hurtled higher $1.14, or 1.8%, to $65.86, while Restaurant Brands International up $1.44, or 2%, to $74.23.

The energy group climbed, boosted for the second day by TransCanada Corp, which advanced $1.21, or 2.2% to $57.54 after it said on Thursday it would go ahead with the expansion of its NGTL natural gas system.

Suncor Energy also helped support the market, gaining $1.03, or 2.4%, to $43.44.

A drop in gold producers weighed on the market

Agnico Eagle Mines was among the biggest drags on the index, down $2.18, or 3.9% at $54.11, while First Quantum Minerals declined 64 cents, or nearly 3%, to $20.75.

Shares of cannabis companies also came under pressure the day after Canadian government officials said the planned July start date for legalized recreational marijuana was set to be delayed further.

Canopy Growth declined $1.47, or 5.1%, to $26.57, while Aphria Inc dropped 91 cents, or 6.1%, to $13.97. Aurora Cannabis was among the most actively traded companies on the index, down 72 cents, or 6.6%, to $10.13.

Among companies reporting corporate earnings, Air Canada rose 37 cents, or 1.5%, to $24.70, after it reported better-than-expected profit as efforts to improve the company's operating margins paid off.

On matters economic, Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales declined 0.3% to $55.5 billion in December, following a revised increase of 3.8% in November. The decline was mainly the result of lower sales in the petroleum and coal products industry and the food manufacturing industry.

Canadian investors acquired a record $22.0 billion of foreign securities in December, mainly foreign shares. Meanwhile, foreign investors reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by $2.0 billion, led by a divestment in Canadian bonds.


The TSX Venture Exchange subtracted 4.03 points to 830.17

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive on the day, with utilities climbing 1.9%, consumer staples better by 1.3%, and energy up 1.2%.

The three laggards were gold, sliding 2%, while materials were off 1.3%, and health-care skidded 1.2%


Stocks closed slightly higher on Friday, extending their winning streak to six days in a row, and posted their biggest weekly gain in five years.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell from daily peaks, but was still positive 19.01 points to 25,219.38, with Pfizer as the best-performing stock in the index. The Dow also posted its sixth straight day of gains.

The S&P 500 gathered 1.02 points to 2,732.22, eking out a six-day winning streak. Utilities and health-care were the best-performing sectors in the broad index.

The NASDAQ snapped a five-day winning streak, however, losing 16.97 points to 7,239.46

Despite closing off their session highs, the major indexes posted strong weekly gains. The Dow and S&P 500 rose 4.3% each, posting their best weekly performances since 2016 and 2013, respectively. The NASDAQ jumped 5.3%, meanwhile, notching its biggest one-week gain since 2011.

Stocks have rebounded sharply from the correction levels seen last week. On Feb. 8, the major averages closed 10% below all-time highs set last month.

In corporate news, Coca-Cola shares rose 0.5% after the company reported better-than-expected earnings. Coca-Cola said its best-performing drinks were water and sports drinks.

Wendy's shares jumped 4.4% after analysts at Guggenheim upgraded them to buy from neutral, noting their valuation is more attractive after their recent pullback.

In economic news, housing starts rose 9.7% in January, easily surpassing analyst expectations. Import prices, meanwhile, gained 1%, while export prices advanced 0.8%. Consumer sentiment rose more than expected, according to a preliminary reading from the University of Michigan.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained strength, lowering yields to 2.87% from Thursday’s 2.91%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices regained 32 cents a barrel to $61.66 U.S.

Gold prices dropped $4.40 to $1,350.90 U.S. an ounce.