Stocks Rise at Open Despite Trade Fears

Sprott in Focus

Stocks in Canada’s largest market pulled ahead first thing Monday, though global stocks were down on fears of a trade war with the U.S. if President Donald Trump proceeds with tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index pulled briefly out of its funk, gaining 34.16 to start the day and the week at 15,418.75

The Canadian dollar lost 0.53 cents to 77.06 cents U.S.

Saputo Inc said on Monday it is discussing plans to sell a milk plant in Victoria state to address concerns from Australia's competition watchdog about its buyout of Murray Goulburn Co-operative.

Saputo trailed off 16 cents to $39.99.

Barclays raised the target price on George Weston to $109.00 from $108.00. Weston stocks lost 22 cents to $104.34.

RBC cut the rating on Sprott Inc. to underperform from sector perform. Sprott dipped four cents, or 1.2%, to $3.41.

Ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico meet on Monday to wrap up the latest round of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks under the shadow of U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange regained 6.47 points to 832.47

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, with health-care triumphing 3.8%, while materials and energy each took on 0.6%.

The three laggards were information technology, down 0.2%, financials, off 0.1%, and industrials, tailing off 0.03%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks opened lower on Monday as investors mulled over potential U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

The Dow Jones Industrials plunged 101.34 points at the outset to 24,436.72. Boeing and Caterpillar were among the worst-performing stocks in the index, falling more than 1% each.

The S&P 500 settled 14.94 points to 2,676.31, with financials and industrials as the worst-performing sectors

The NASDAQ Composite stumbled 51.57 points to 7,206.30.

In corporate news, French insurer AXA is buying XL Group for $15.3 billion U.S., or $57.60 a share, in a deal that would create a property and casualty insurance giant. XL shares rose more than 30% on the back of the news.

President Donald Trump announced last week the U.S. will implement a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports.

The news sparked fears of a potential global trade war as world leaders condemned the announcement. In response to the U.S. tariffs, the European Union proposed tariffs on Harley-Davidson bikes and other U.S. products.

In economic news, a services purchasing managers' index was due out at 9:45 a.m. ET, followed by the non-manufacturing Institute of Supply Management report on business, due out at 10 a.m. ET

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained ground, lowering yields to 2.84% from Friday’s 2.87%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices took on 38 cents a barrel to $61.63 U.S.

Gold prices slumped $2.20 at $1,321.20 U.S. an ounce.