More Positive Readings for TSX

Aurora Cannabis, Natural Resources in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest market pulled firmly forward out of the minus category Thursday, based mostly on the strength of health-care and energy issues

The S&P/TSX Composite Index strengthened 98.76 to end Thursday at 14,903.49

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.14 cents at 75.55 U.S.

Aurora Cannabis finished strongest, gaining 67 cents, or 9.3%, to $7.84, while Canopy Growth skyrocketed $5.20, or 11.7%, to $49.70.

In the oil patch, Suncor forged ahead eight cents to $40.64, while Canadian Natural Resources climbed 51 cents, or 1.5%, to $35.60
Among utilities, Hydro One inched up six cents to $20.69, while Fortis strengthened 48 cents, or 1.1%, to $45.43.

Gold stocks got bruised, Barrick Gold taking a hit of nine cents to $16.34, while Kinross Gold dipped five cents, or 1.2%, to $4.19.

In materials, First Quantum Minerals shed 29 cents, or 2.6%, to $10.99, while Agnico Eagle Mines lost 96 cents, or 1.8%, to $52.51

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported that housing starts were unchanged for a fourth consecutive month in November, while Canadian municipalities issued $8.3 billion worth of building permits in November, up 2.6% from October. Higher construction intentions for commercial buildings drove most of the gain.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange inched down 1.18 points to 596.63

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher on the day, as health-care surged 3.9%, energy gushed 1.1%, and utilities bettered themselves 1%.

The two laggards were gold, off 0.8%, and materials, down 0.4%

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Thursday, but gains were capped as disappointing holiday sales from Macy’s and a revenue guidance cut from American Airlines pressured retail and airline shares. Fear that the U.S. government shutdown might continue for a long time also weighed on stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 122.8 points to 24,001.92, as Boeing outperformed.

The S&P 500 triumphed 11.68 points to 2,596.64 - notching its first five-day winning streak since September — as the real estate and industrials sectors outperformed.

The NASDAQ Composite hiked 28.99 points to 6,986.07.

Macy’s shares tanked more than 18%— their worst day ever — after reporting its same-store sales grew by just 1.1% in November and December. The company also cut its earnings and revenue forecast for fiscal 2018.

Shares of Kohl’s fell 4.8% while Nordstrom declined 4%

Meanwhile, American Airlines fell more than 4% after slashing its revenue growth forecast for the fourth quarter. Shares of JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines both fell.

Boeing shares rose more than 2.5% after Morgan Stanley upgraded them to overweight, citing strength in the company’s commercial aerospace business.

The announcements from Macy’s and American Airlines came as the earnings season for calendar fourth-quarter 2018 is set to ramp up. J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, BlackRock and Morgan Stanley are among the companies set to report next week.

Fourth-quarter earnings are expected to have risen nearly 15% on a year-over-year basis, but growth is expected to be much lower moving forward. According to Thomson Reuters, first-quarter earnings are forecast to rise as much as 3.9%

Thursday’s moves down took place after delegations from Washington and Beijing ended three days of trade negotiations in China on Wednesday. China’s commerce ministry said Thursday the negotiations were extensive and had helped set up a foundation for further talks.

This week’s face-to-face meetings were the first to take place since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce last month.

If both sides are unable to secure a comprehensive trade agreement by March 2, Trump has said he plans to raise tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

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

Oil prices gained 17 cents to $52.53 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices were down $4.70 to $1,287.30 U.S. an ounce.