More Climbing for Canadian Stocks

New Gold, First Quantum in Focus

Equity markets in Canada’s largest centre hit recent highs on Wednesday, driven by optimism that United States and China could be nearing a trade deal, which also boosted oil prices by more than 2.5%

The S&P/TSX Composite Index ascended 199.58 points, or 1.4%, to close Wednesday at 14,804.73

The Canadian dollar gained 0.19 cents at 75.67 U.S.

Aphria was one of a barrage of gaining health-care issues, shooting up 61 cents, or 7.3%, to $9.01, while Bausch Health Companies progressed 86 cents, or 2.9%, to $30.94.

In the tech field, Shopify sprinted $4.07, or 2.1%, to $197.28, while Constellation Software perked $25.80, or 2.9%, to $915.15.

Among energy plays, Canadian Natural Resources hiked 48 cents, or 1.4%. to $35.01, while Enbridge accumulated 19 cents to $45.56.

The Bank of Canada kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75% on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, on the economic front, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said its seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of housing starts fell to 213,419 units from an upwardly-revised 224,349 units in November.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange climbed 9.85 points, or 1.7%, to 598.11

All 12 TSX subgroups gained on the day with health-care galloping 6.6%, information technology and energy each better by 1.9%

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose in another volatile session on Wednesday after a summary of the Federal Reserve’s meeting in December reiterated comments from the central bank’s chairman from last week about patience regarding monetary policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained buoyant 91.67 points to 23,879.12, posting its fourth straight day of gains.

The S&P 500 improved 10.55 points to 2,584.96, as the tech and energy sectors outperformed.

The NASDAQ Composite gained 60.08 points to 6,957.08, as Apple gained 1.7%. Energy gained 1.5% as a sector, boosted by a 5.2% in U.S. crude prices.

Caterpillar rose 0.4% while Boeing gained nearly 1%. These stocks are largely seen as bellwethers for trade because of the companies’ exposure to overseas markets.

U.S. trade officials said in a statement they will report back to the White House for further guidance on the talks.

Equities pared gains in the last hour of trading as it appeared a meeting over the shutdown between President Donald Trump and Democratic leadership did not go well. The president tweeted the meeting was "a total waste of time." Sen. Chuck Schumer said the president walked out of the meeting.

The Fed minutes pointed to a backdrop of low inflation in the U.S., meaning the central bank can "afford to be patient about further policy firming." They also indicated that some Fed officials think a "relatively limited amount" of rate hikes may be coming.

Prices for the benchmark for the 10-year U.S. Treasury were slightly higher, lowering yields to 2.72% from Tuesday’s 2.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices shot higher $2.45 to $52.23 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gathered $8.30 to $1,294.20 U.S. an ounce.