Stocks Cool off Thursday

Rogers, Magna in Focus

Stocks in Canada’s largest market took a breather from the dizzy heights they had climbed in the past few days, most on weakness in health-care and energy issues.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index dipped 11.96 points to close Thursday’s trading at 15,357.47

The Canadian dollar skidded 0.24 cents to 76 cents U.S.

Strong earnings reports from auto parts maker Magna International and retailer Canadian Tire helped lift the consumer discretionary sector.

Magna shares gained $3.50, or 5.4%, to $68.38, while Canadian Tire jumped $16.19, or 10.8%, to $166.04.

Communications firms did well, too, as Rogers Communications picked up 25 cents to $67.22, while Shaw Communications gained 22 cents to $24.68

The financial sector rose after two of Canada's biggest insurers, Manulife Financial Corp and Sun Life Financial, posted third-quarter earnings that surpassed market expectations, helped by sales growth in Asia.

Manulife sprinted 89 cents, or 4.2%, to $22.33, while Sun Life scaled back a bit, losing 66 cents, or 1.3%, to $48.75.

In health-care, weighing most among the losing subgroups, Aphria dipped 79 cents, or 4.6%, to $16.53, while Aurora Cannabis ditched 70 cents, or 6.6%, to $9.89.

Energy stocks took some lumps, too, as Suncor slid $1.24, or 2.7%, to $44.86, while Canadian Natural Resources faded 17 cents to $38.10.

In the economic docket, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced that the trend in housing starts was 206,171 units in October, compared to 207,809 units the month before.


The TSX Venture Exchange lost 4.94 points to 667.06

The 12 subgroups were evenly divided, as consumer discretionary stocks soared 2%, communications beamed higher 0.9%, and financials improved 0.4%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by health-care, hurtling earthward 3.7%, energy, down 1.9%, and utilities, off 0.9%.


The S&P 500 closed lower on Thursday following big gains in the previous session as investors digested the latest monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrials held onto 10.92 points worth of gains to 26,191.22, to post a four-session winning streak.

The S&P 500 sagged 7.06 points to 2,806.83, as energy lagged, snapping a three-day winning streak.

The NASDAQ dipped 39.87 points to 7,530.88, as Qualcomm shares fell sharply.

Qualcomm shares fell more than 8% after the company issued weaker-than-expected revenue guidance for fiscal first quarter 2019. The company cited lower Apple legacy shipments and lower demand out of China.

Disney shares slipped 0.9% ahead of the release of its latest corporate earnings report. The stock jumped more than 1% in after-hours trading after the company posted a better-than-expected profit.

The Fed kept interest rates unchanged, as was widely expected. However, the central bank said in a statement it expects "further gradual increases" in the overnight rate. The Fed also did not mention the volatility that has hit the market recently.

Thursday's moves come after the major stock indexes posted sharp gains following the U.S. midterm election. The S&P 500 and Dow both rose more than 2% on Wednesday, notching their biggest post-midterm elections gains since 1982.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury sagged, raising yields to 3.24% from Wednesday’s 3.23%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices lost $1.10 to $60.57 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices subtracted $4.40 an ounce to $1,224.30 U.S.