TSX Just Below Breakeven at Noon

Barrick, Rogers in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest market gave up earlier gains, as suspense gripped investors north of the border (as it did south) over a possible coronavirus aid bill in the United States.

The TSX skidded 15.64 points to move into noon hour EDT at 16,214.59.

The Canadian dollar was up 0.14 cents at 76.16 cents U.S.

Gold stocks were particularly vulnerable, as Barrick Gold faltered 82 cents, or 2.3%, to $35.14, while Kinross Gold dropped 42 cents, or 3.5%, to $11.58.

Among tech stocks, Enghouse Systems plummeted $2.68, or 3.6%, to $71.63, while Absolute Software lost 28 cents, or 1.6%, to $17.01.

Communications rocketed Thursday, though, as Rogers gained $5.40, or 10.3%, to $57.75, while Corus Entertainment took on 27 cents, or 8.6%, to $3.41.

In the energy field, Seven Generations Energy gathered 33 cents, or 7.5%, to $4.71, while Vermilion Energy zoomed 21 cents, or 6%, to $3.72.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 2.52 points to 708.68.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups had turned negative midday, with gold fading 2.3%, materials dwindling 1.9%, and tech off 1.1%.

The four gainers were led by communications, soaring 3.4%, energy, up 2.5%, and financials gaining 0.6%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks gyrated on Thursday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled once again that Democrats and the White House were making progress on U.S. stimulus negotiations.

The Dow Jones Industrials recovered from a 170-point loss to trail breakeven by 26.67 points by lunch hour, to 28,184.15.

The S&P 500 ditched 3.35 points to 3,432.21.

The NASDAQ nicked higher 2.15 points to 11,486.84.

Companies continued to file third-quarter earnings reports on Wednesday, with both electric car maker Tesla and burrito chain Chipotle offering investors updates on their businesses.

Elon Musk’s Tesla reported its fifth straight quarter of profits, reporting per-share earnings of 76 cents versus the consensus estimate of 57 cents expected by analysts. The company had already reported that it delivered 139,300 vehicles during the quarter, a new record for Tesla.

CEO Musk noted on the company’s earnings call that Tesla plans to start delivering cars from new factories in Brandenburg, Germany and Austin, Texas in 2021 but that output could be slow at first. The stock was up 2.7%.

Coca-Cola rose more than 1% after the company reported a stronger-than-forecast profit for the previous quarter. CSX and AT&T also rose on the back of better-than-expected earnings.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, meanwhile, saw its equity fall 5% after it said a shift to delivery orders ballooned costs and led to reduced drink sales in the third quarter.

Futures came under some pressure overnight after U.S. officials said Iran is taking steps to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, and Russia has obtained American voter information.

Pelosi said Thursday a deal on new coronavirus aid was "just about there." She also said: "If we were not making progress, I wouldn’t spend five seconds in these conversations. … This is not anything other than I think a serious attempt. I do believe that both sides want to reach an agreement."

To be sure, Pelosi noted that both sides have yet to reach an agreement on certain key issues, including state and local funding. She also cautioned it could take “a while” for lawmakers to actually write and vote on any aid bill.

On the data front, the U.S. Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell to 787,000 for the week ending Oct. 17. That marks the first time since March that claims come in below 800,000. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected first-time applicants for state unemployment insurance to have totaled 875,000.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury slumped a bit, lifting yields to 0.84% from Wednesday’s 0.82%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices moved ahead 77 cents at $40.80 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices declined $27.50 to $1,902.