TSX Peaks as Energy Climbs

Aphria, Park Lawn in Focus

A rally in energy shares helped Canada's main stock index open at new highs on Wednesday as a decline in new coronavirus cases in China eased fears of falling crude oil demand.

The TSX Composite Index gained 26.06 points to begin Wednesday trading at 17,884.40.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.17 cents to 75.59 cents U.S.

Caltex Australia Ltd said on Wednesday that Britain's EG Group has offered to buy the convenience store, petrol station and refinery firm, rivaling Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard's twice-improved A$8.80-billion bid.

Couche-Tard gained 10 cents to $44.08.

Nutrien Ltd on Tuesday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit and forecast full-year earnings below analysts' estimates on weak global demand for fertilizers and lower potash prices. Nutrien shares jumped $1.78, or 3.3%, to $56.37.

RBC cut the price target on Air Canada to $58.00 from $59.00. Air Canada shares got lift of 40 cents to $45.40.

Bryan Garnier cut the fair value on Aphria Inc. to $6.50 from $12.40. Shares in Aphria docked a penny to $5.59.

CIBC cut the price target on Park Lawn Corp. to $33.00 from $34.00. Park Lawn lost 11 cents a share to $29.29.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada said Wednesday the consumer price index rose 2.4% on a year-over-year basis in January, up from a 2.2% increase in December. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.1% in January.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 3.08 points to 580.14.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive in the first hour of trade, as energy towered 0.9%, while industrials and information technology each climbed 0.4%.

The five laggards were weighed most by health-care, down 1.1%, communications off 0.5%, and real-estate, sliding 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose to record highs on Wednesday as tech shares outperformed while investors continued to weigh the coronavirus’ impact on the global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrials recovered 58.77 points to kick Wednesday at 29,290.66.

The S&P 500 surged 14.04 points to 3,384.33.

The NASDAQ jumped 71.33 points to 9,804.62.

Apple shares contributed to the gains, trading 1.2% higher.

Tesla, meanwhile, jumped 6.3% after an analyst at Piper Sandler hiked his price target on the electric car maker to $928 per share from $729 per share.

China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday reported an additional 1,749 cases of the coronavirus nationwide. That’s the lowest number of newly confirmed cases since late January.

Still, the total number of cases has broken above 74,000 while confirmed deaths from the coronavirus are more than 2,000. Cases of the deadly flu-like virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, have also been reported in more than two dozen countries around the world. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

On the data front, the U.S. Labor Department’s producer price index (PPI) rose by 0.5% in January, marking its biggest one-month increase since October 2018.

The Federal Reserve is also scheduled to publish its meeting minutes from last month’s meeting, when policymakers at the U.S. central bank decided to hold short-term interest rates steady between a range of 1.5% to 1.75%.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury were static, keeping yields at Tuesday’s 1.56%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices acquired 62 cents to $52.67 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices advanced $3.70 to $1,607.30 U.S. an ounce.