TSX drops below breakeven

Cannabis stocks again charge ahead

Canada’s largest stock market finished much stronger Thursday morning, as overrode gains in health-care overrode losses in energy.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index found its feet and traveled 61.85 points higher to conclude Thursday at 16,211.77

The Canadian dollar moved higher 0.11 cents to 77.49 cents.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday he wanted to see flexibility from the United States if the two sides are to reach a deal on renewing the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Washington insists must be finished by the end of the month.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Aurora Cannabis, up $1.04 or 9.6%, to $11.91. The company is looking to list its shares in the U.S. in October, according to a Financial Post report.

Canopy Growth Corporation popped $3.05, or 4.8%, to $66.51.

Consumer discretionary stocks were also noteworthy, as Magna International jumped $2.72, or 3.9%, to $73.05, while Gildan Activewear gained 24 cents to $38.92.

Industrial stocks were winners, too, as Air Canada got 24 cents worth of lift to $27.61, while Bombardier moved higher 13 cents, or 2.8%, to $4.73.

Energy stocks were weaker, as Trican Well Service was down eight cents, or 3.2%, to $2.43. Canadian Natural Resources backtracked 81 cents, or 1.9%, to $41.66.

Utilities were roughed up as well, with Hydro One backing up 13 cents to $19.77, while Fortis Inc. down 22 cents to $42.04.

New Gold fell 14 cents, or 9.7%, approaching the close, to $1.30, while Barrick Gold lost three cents to $13.68

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada reported that, in July, 475,000 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits, an increase of 11,000, or 2.4%, from June.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange hiked 5.3 points to 719.75

Eight of the 12 subgroups were higher to end the session. Health-care muscled higher 5.2%, while consumer discretionary stocks gained 1.8%, and industrials bettered themselves 1.3%.

The four laggards were weighed most by energy, down 1%, utilities, down 0.9%, and gold, off 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its first record high since January on Thursday as gains in Apple and a decrease in trade fears lifted the 30-stock index.

The blue chips surged 251.22 points, or 1%, to 26,656.98, as Boeing, Caterpillar and Apple all rose.

The S&P 500 popped 19.88 points to 2,930.75, an all-time high, its first since late August, as materials, consumer staples and tech outperformed.

The NASDAQ jumped 78.19 points, or 1%, to 8,028.23, as Amazon also gained 1% as the company unveiled several Alexa-powered devices, including a microwave. Apple, meanwhile, closed 0.8% higher.

Boeing took on 0.6%, and Caterpillar, another bellwether for trade, rose 2.2%.

As tensions between the two largest economies in the world slap tariffs on each other's goods, the Chinese commerce ministry said Thursday the country hopes the U.S. will take steps to correct its behavior.

General Electric shares fell 3.1% after an analyst at J.P. Morgan slashed his price target on the company to $10 from $11. The analyst noted he expects "weaker results at power and some franchise value impact."

Nvidia slipped 2.1% after analysts at Morgan Stanley called the company's new gaming card disappointing.

Disney's stock rose 1.7% after ESPN announced its video streaming service reached more than one million paid subscribers in five months.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury inched up, lowering yields to 3.07% from Wednesday’s 3.08%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped 35 cents to $70.77 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices strengthened $3.60 to $1,211.90 U.S. an ounce.