Stocks Remain Positive at Noon

Barrick, HudBay in Focus

Gains in material companies pulled higher Canada's main stock index on Wednesday, as gold prices rose on hopes of a trade deal between the United States and China.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 61.55 points to greet noon Wednesday at 15,998.99

The Canadian dollar picked up 0.32 cents at 76.01 cents U.S.

Barrick Gold rose 44 cents, or 2.5%, to $18.35, after the miner outlined a plan to settle disputes between its Acacia Mining unit and Tanzania's government.

Among the great performers Wednesday was Bombardier, which jumped seven cents, or 2.5%, to $2.83. Hudbay Minerals followed, up 42 cents, or 5%, to $8.82, after posting better-than-expected quarterly revenue.

Uni-Select Inc fell $3.74, or 19.4%, to $15.53, after the auto parts distributor's fourth-quarter results failed to impress.

Another big decliner was Aritzia Inc, down $1.48, or 8.3%, to $16.45 after a secondary stock offering.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange nicked up 1.52 points to 623.57.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were stronger midday, most notably, materials, up 1.5%, while gold improved 1.4%, and financials prospered 0.6%

The three laggards were health-care, down 0.9%, consumer staples, sliding 0.1%, and communications, off 0.01%. Consumer discretionary stocks were unchanged.

ON WALLSTREET


Stocks rose slightly on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the release of a summary from the Federal Reserve's meeting in January.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 39.68 points to pause for lunch at 25,931, as Caterpillar and DowDuPont outperformed.

The S&P 500 picked up 5.71 points to 2,785.47, led by a 1.7% jump in the materials sector.

The NASDAQ Composite tacked on 22.59 points to 7,509.13

CVS Health shares fell more than 7% after issuing a weaker-than-expected earnings forecast for 2019. The company's guidance comes after closing a $70-billion deal to acquire health insurer Aetna in November.

Stocks have been on a tear lately in part because of the Fed's perceived pause on rate hikes. The Dow and NASDAQ are riding an eight-week winning streak, while the S&P 500 is up seven of the past eight weeks. Since the Fed's meeting in January, the major indexes are all up more than 4%.

The Fed said on Jan. 30 it will be "patient" in tightening monetary policy moving forward and kept interest rates unchanged. Investors will peruse the minutes, looking for more clues about how long the Fed plans to remain patient. The minutes are scheduled for release for 2 p.m. ET.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury settled, raising yields to 2.65% from Tuesday’s 2.64%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 99 cents to $57.08 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices grew $3.10 to $1,347.90 U.S. an ounce.