Stocks Droop by Noon Hour Thursday

Lundin, Cascades in Focus

Canada's main stock index fell for the first time in four sessions on Thursday, as weakness in energy and material stocks outweighed hopes of a large fiscal stimulus package under new U.S. President Joe Biden.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index had dawdled 108.84 points to reach noon Thursday at 17,906.07

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.04 cents to 79.15 cents U.S.

Cancer drug developer Trillium Therapeutics fell $1.15, or 6.7%, the most on the TSX, to $16.04, extending losses from the prior session.

The second biggest decliner was security software maker Blackberry Limited, down 55 cents, or 3.4%, to $15.60, a day after hitting nearly a three-year high.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Lundin Mining which jumped 29 cents, or 2.4%, to $12.33, after multiple brokerages raised their price targets on the miner's stock

Its gains were followed by Cascades, which rose 57 cents, or 3.9%, to $15.22, after BMO started the coverage of the paper packaging firm with outperform.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported growth in new home prices slowed for the third consecutive month, rising 0.3% in December compared with November.

The agency also reports that despite the recent slowdown, new home prices were up 4.6% year over year in December.


The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 10.52 points, or 1.1%, to pause for lunch at 935.63.

All 12 TSX subgroups were in minus territory midday, as energy slid 2.1%, health-care wilted 2%, and gold lost 1.3% of its lustre.


The NASDAQ Composite jumped to a record high once again Thursday as investors bet on strong earnings from big tech companies next week.

The Dow Jones Industrials faded 64.33 points to 31,124.05.

The S&P 500 subtracted 3.07 points to 3,848.78, pressured by losses in the energy sector.

The NASDAQ picked up 28.41 points to 13,486.13, The tech-heavy benchmark climbed 0.5% as Apple popped 3%.

Apple’s jump came after a top analyst from Morgan Stanley said she expects a record December quarter print for the tech giant. Optimism is rising that major technology companies will impress Wall Street when they hand in earnings reports next week. Apple, Microsoft and
Facebook have all risen at least 5% this week ahead of their quarterly results.

Major U.S. airline United fell 6.4% after missing on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly earnings. The carrier warned sales would continue to suffer in the early part of 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Thursday’s action came after a better-than-expected reading on jobless claims. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 900,000 for the week ended Jan. 16, lower than an estimate of 925,000 according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Still, some on Wall Street are optimistic that Biden’s plans to combat the pandemic will give the stock market a further boost through 2021.

Biden released details of his COVID plan on his first full day in office, including 10 executive orders and his intent to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up protective equipment production. Biden will seek to accelerate the rollout of vaccines by providing more local and state funding, creating more vaccination sites and launching a national education campaign.

Along with the COVID response plan released Thursday, investors are also watching eagerly if Biden can get his proposed $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief bill through Congress.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury stumbled, raising yields to 1.10% from Wednesday’s 1.08%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slipped 36 cents to $52.95 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices stepped back $3.90 to $1,862.50 U.S. an ounce.