Equities’ Strength Continues, Buoyed by Oil Prices

Cronos Posts Biggest Gains

Canada's main stock index rose on Friday, set for its fourth straight weekly gain, as an increase in oil prices lifted shares of energy companies.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index grew 80.75 points to greet noon Friday at 15,291.97. The index has gained close to a thousand points since the start of 2019, and is gunning for an 11th straight positive session.

The Canadian dollar jumped 0.17 cents to 75.47 cents U.S.

The biggest percentage gainers on the TSX were shares of Cronos Group Inc, which rose $1.61, or 8.9%, to $19.76, followed by a gain of $1.69, or 3%, in Canopy Growth, to $58.66, after brokerage CIBC initiated its coverage on both cannabis producers with "outperform" ratings.

Iamgold fell 14 cents, or 3.5%, the most on the TSX, to $3.84, after BMO cut its rating on the gold producer to "market perform" from "outperform".

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that foreign investment in this country acquired $9.5 billion of Canadian securities in November, mainly bonds.

Meanwhile, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by $4.1 billion as they sold U.S. shares. The agency says the divestment in foreign securities was the largest in a year and followed two strong months of acquisitions.

Elsewhere, the agency’s Consumer Price Index rose 2.0% on a year-over-year basis in December, following a 1.7% increase in November. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, inflation rose 0.2% in December.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange remained afloat 2.37 points to 597.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were still positive midday, as health-care was haler by 1.4%, information technology clicked higher 1.1%, and consumer discretionary picked up 1%.

The four laggards were led most by gold, down 0.8%, while real-estate and utilities each slid 0.2%

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Friday as investors cheered potential progress in trade negotiations between China and the U.S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average skyrocketed 277.02 points, or 1.1%, to pause for lunch Friday at 24,647.12, led by gains in Chevron and Boeing. The 30-stock index is enjoying a gain of 1,300 points on the year so far.

The S&P 500 gained 31.95 points, or 1.2%, to 2,667.91, trading out of correction territory, as the energy and industrials sectors outperformed.

The NASDAQ Composite rumbled higher 80.41 points, or 1.1%, to 7,164.87

The major indexes were on track to post their fourth-straight week of gains. They were all up more than 1% for the week entering Friday’s session.

The major averages jumped to their highs of the day after sources told the media that China had offered a six-year increase in U.S. imports during recent trade talks. Bloomberg News reported on Friday that the deal would aim to reduce the annual U.S. deficit to zero by 2024.

Shares of Boeing and Caterpillar both traded more than 1% higher. Deere climbed more than 3%.

The gains come as the corporate earnings season kicks off. Major banks like J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs all released their quarterly results this week.

Most recently, Netflix reported better-than-expected earnings, boosted by stronger-than-forecast subscriber growth. However, the stock fell 1.8% on the back of disappointing guidance for the first quarter of 2019.

Dow member American Express also fell after reporting disappointing earnings.

Manufacturing data released by the Federal Reserve also showed the sector’s biggest gain in 10 months in December. Those numbers were boosted by strong production in motor vehicles and other goods.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury dipped sharply, lifting yields to 2.79% from Thursday’s 2.75%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices vaulted $1.53 to $53.60 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sank $9.90 to $1,282.400 U.S. an ounce.