Stocks Flat by Close

HEXO, Eldorado Prove Stalwarts

Equities in Canada’s largest centre walked a tightrope for much of Thursday, concluding business just below breakeven, as strength in health-care stocks outdistanced weakness consumer discretionary issues.

The TSX Composite Index slipped 0.88 points to 16,426.30

The Canadian dollar recovered 0.32 cents to 76.07 cents U.S.

Shares in HEXO gained 60 cents, or 18.5%, to $3.85, while Aurora Cannabis hiked 36 cents, or 7.6%, to $5.10.

So-called Cannabis 2.0 comes a year after Canada legalized use of recreational marijuana. Sales are expected to begin in mid-December.

Gold shone, with Eldorado Gold picking up 56 cents, or 5.8%, to $10.30, while Centerrra Gold conquered 49 cents, or 4.1%, to $12.57.

Another bright spot was shares of First Quantum Minerals, which jumped $1.18, or 11.8%, to $11.15, after Pangaea Investment Management, backed by one of China’s biggest copper producers Jiangxi Copper, raised its stake in the Canadian miner to 10.8%.

Pretium Resources gained 50 cents, or 3.2%, to $16.17.

Among the stocks failing to get out of the red, MTY Food Group settled $1.19, or 2.2%, to $53.14, while Spin Master dipped 56 cents, or 1.4%, to $38.72.

Communications also sank, as BCE lost 41 cents to $64.22, while Cogeco Communications docked 70 cents to $110.00.

In among utilities, Transalta Renewables fell 18 cents, or 1.3%, to $13.71, while Emera Corporation slid 55 cents, or 1%, $56.03.
On matters macroeconomic, Statistics Canada reported manufacturing sales rose 0.8% to $57.6 billion in August, following two consecutive monthly declines.

The transportation equipment and fabricated metal industries were mainly responsible for the growth in August.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange pointed upward 5.02 points to 544.07

The 12 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers, health-care leading the former, up 3.5%, gold shining 1.4%, and materials heading upward 1.2%

Among laggards, consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.7%, communications lost 0.3%, and utilities sank 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Thursday after strong earnings results from companies such as Netflix and Morgan Stanley. Investors also digested news of European Union and the U.K. striking a deal on Brexit.

The Dow Jones Industrials regrouped 23.9 points to close Thursday at 27,025.88

The S&P 500 gained 8.26 points to 2,997.25

The NASDAQ Composite hiked 32.67 points to 8,156.85

Netflix shares rose 2.5% after the video streamer posted earnings that topped analyst expectations. The company reported a bigger-than-expected increase in international paid subscribers, which mitigated a big miss in domestic subscriber adds.

Morgan Stanley also got a boost from its quarterly numbers, closing 1% higher. The bank’s results got a boost from stronger-than-anticipated trading and advisory revenues.

Overall, the corporate earnings season is off to a solid start. More than 78% of the S&P 500 companies

Stocks also rose after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we have a great new Brexit deal" via Twitter. He called on British lawmakers to back the deal when it’s put before Parliament on Saturday. Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted that the deal was a “fair and balanced” one.

This is not a done deal, however. The U.K. Parliament has to approve the deal before it can be implemented.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury listed lower, raising yields to 1.76% from Wednesday’s 1.75%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices regained 67 cents to $54.03 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $1.40 to $1,495.40 U.S. an ounce.