TSX Sees Only Narrow Gains

Canopy, New Gold in Focus

Markets in Toronto tenaciously held onto gains by the closing bell on Thursday, gains in technology stocks holding off losses in the health-care area.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index remained barely positive, 3.18 points, to end Thursday’s session at 16,399.47

The Canadian dollar lost 0.28 cents at 74.8 cents U.S.

Health-care took the biggest lumps, as Bausch Health Companies chucked eight cents to $34.72, while Canopy Growth capsized $2.53, or 4.5%, to $53.65.

Gold fell by the wayside, with New Gold down four cents, or 3.2%, to $1.22, while Kirkland Lake Gold dropped off five cents to $42.22.

Materials dipped, with Frontier Lithium falling half a cent, or 1.4%, to 35 cents, and Agnico Eagle Mines slipped 77 cents, or 1.3%, to $56.63.

Tech stocks led the gainers, with Shopify sprouting $7.08, or 2.6%, to $282.23, and Constellation Software leaping $13.79, or 1.2%, to $1,189.35.

Among financials, Royal Bank tacked on 38 cents to $103.88, while Manulife added 31 cents, or 1.3%, to $24.01.

In industrials, Air Canada was airborne 42 cents, or 1.3%, to $32.79, while Canadian Pacific Railway took on $1.64 to $282.23.

On matters macroeconomic, Statistics Canada reported that its new housing price index was unchanged in February, despite growth in some of the housing markets surveyed.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange retreated 4.68 points to 624.41

Seven of the 12 Toronto subgroups were lower, as health-care ailed 2.6%, gold dulled in price 1%, and materials lost 0.9%.

The five gainers were in information technology, up 1%, while financials and industrials each acquired 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks closed along the flatline on Thursday as Wall Street looked ahead to the start of the earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished in the red 14.11 points – off its lows of the day -- to 26,143.05, as Apple slipped 0.8%.

The S&P 500 was unchanged at 2,888.32.

The NASDAQ Composite dipped 16.89 points to 7,947.36

J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are among the companies set to kick off the latest earnings season on Friday, which Wall Street believes will be rough. FactSet estimates first-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 fell 4.2%, which would mark the worst earnings season since 2016.

Chipotle Mexican Grill shares fell more than 1% after Jefferies downgraded them, citing a “full” valuation and a run-up that “reflects improved visibility for powerful [same-store sales] and margin drivers.”

Tesla, meanwhile, fell nearly 3% after a report said the company and Panasonic were holding off on a Gigafactory expansion. The delay, according to the Nikkei report, is due to worries that demand for Tesla vehicles is slowing down.

The Wall Street Journal reported that China agreed to open its cloud-computing sector to foreign companies in an attempt to sweeten a deal with the U.S.

This follows Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin telling reporters on Wednesday that Washington and Beijing have “pretty much agreed on an enforcement mechanism” for when a deal is struck.

Investors also weighed news that talks between E.U. leaders and British Prime Minister Theresa May culminated in a “flexible extension ” of the U.K.’s departure from the bloc until Oct. 31.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury faltered, raising yields to 2.50% from Wednesday’s 2.47%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices backed off 90 cents to $63.71 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slumped $18.60 to $1,295.30 U.S. an ounce.