TSX Pulls Ahead at Open

RBC, Enerplus in Focus

Equity markets in Canada’s largest centre rose on Friday, boosted by gains for Royal Bank of Canada after it reported stronger-than-expected earnings, while energy shares also climbed.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index recovered 56.49 points to begin Friday at 15,565.66

The Canadian dollar inched up 0.1 cents to 78.75 cents U.S.

RBC reported first-quarter earnings that were above market expectations helped by a strong performance in wealth management.

Its shares, which trade under the symbol RY, lost 20 cents in the first hour of trade to $101.96.

Enerplus Corp beat quarterly profit expectations on higher prices for oil and natural gas. Enerplus shares gained 53 cents, or 4%, to $13.85.

Canaccord Genuity raised the rating on Crombie REIT to buy from hold. Units of Crombie gathered 25 cents, or 1.9%, to $13.27.

Desjardins raised the target price on Terago Inc. to $5.75 from $5.25. Terago shares backtracked five cents to $5.50.

CIBC raised the rating on Winpak Ltd. to outperform from neutral. Winpak shares galloped $3.57, or 7.9%, to $48.77.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada announced that the consumer price index rose 1.7% on a year-over-year basis in January, following a 1.9% increase in December.

On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index was up 0.5% in January, after increasing 0.1% in December.

Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees rang in at $993 in December, little changed from the previous month, but up 2.3%, compared with December 2016.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 0.61 points to 829.80

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups began the day in positive country, as health-care and energy were each 0.9% more energetic, and utilities clicked 0.5% higher

The two naysayers were gold, down 0.6%, and real-estate, 0.03% less solid.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks rose on Friday but were still on track to post weekly losses. Wall Street also looked ahead to the release of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy report.

The Dow Jones Industrials surged 125.16 points, to open at 25,087.64, with Intel as the index's best-performing stock.

The S&P 500 added 15.54 points to 2,719.50, with tech and energy as the best-performing sector.

The NASDAQ Composite prospered 40.99 points to 7,251.08.

As of Thursday's closed the Dow and the S&P 500 were on track to post a weekly decline of 1% each. This has been a volatile week for stocks, with the major averages posting strong gains in early trading before closing off those highs.

In corporate news, General Mills agreed to buy natural pet food company Blue Buffalo for about $8 billion in cash. Shares of Blue Buffalo surged more than 16%.

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise jumped nearly 10% after reporting quarterly earnings and strong forward guidance.

The Fed is scheduled to release its monetary policy report at 11 a.m. ET. The report will serve as a blueprint for new Fed Chair Jerome Powell's testimony next week.

Investors are also watching out for speeches from three voting members of the Fed's policymaking committee: New York Fed President William Dudley, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and San Francisco Fed President John Williams.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.88% from Thursday’s 2.92%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained eight cents a barrel to $62.85 U.S.

Gold prices sank $2.40 to $1,330.30 U.S. an ounce.