Stocks Peak as Virus Scare Subsides

West Fraser, Shopify in Focus


Canada’s main stock index hit an all-time high on Wednesday, driven by energy stocks as oil prices jumped on optimism over fewer new coronavirus cases, while Shopify shot up 20% on upbeat quarterly earnings.

The TSX Composite Index added 44.27 points by midday Wednesday to 17,821.38

The Canadian dollar gained 0.24 cents to 75.47 cents U.S.

The TSX Venture Exchange faded 2.2 points to move into Wednesday noon hour at 570.92.

Shopify Inc was the biggest percentage gainer on the TSX after posting better-than-expected quarterly earnings and forecasting full-year revenue above Wall Street estimates. Shopify moved skyward $77.12, or 11.8%, to $732.58.

The second-biggest gainer was West Fraser Timber, up $4.88, or 8.4%, to $63.16, on production improvement forecast.

Pretium Resources fell $1.98, or 15.6%, the most on the TSX, to $10.74, after quarterly results. Russel Metals fell $1.07, 4.8%, to $21.48 after reporting a quarterly loss.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower, with energy flagging 0.7%, consumer staples off 0.5%, and gold duller in price 0.3%.

The five gainers were led by information technology, ahead 3.6%, while communications and utilities each climbed 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Wednesday as investors tried to shake off concerns over how the coronavirus would impact corporate profits and the global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrials shot higher 213.7 points to 29,490.04, and hit a record.

The S&P 500 picked up 17.54 points at 3,375.20, also reaching an all-time high.

The NASDAQ jumped 66.89 points to 9,705.18.

Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, two stocks tied to coronavirus worries because of their exposure to the Chinese market, each rose more than 1%.

Those gains follow an upgrade from a Bank of America analyst who recommended buying the stock because coronavirus cases were “leveling out.”

Delta and American Airlines climbed 1.6% and 2%, respectively.

Corporate earnings remained in focus after Lyft reported more than $1 billion in quarterly revenue, but forecast slower growth in 2020. Lyft shares slid 6.9%.

CVS Health, Molson Coors, Teva Pharmaceutical and Shopify all reported quarterly results that beat analyst expectations. About 70% of S&P 500 companies have posted calendar fourth-quarter results. Of those companies, 71.1% have beaten analyst expectations.

As of Tuesday night, China’s National Health Commission had reported 97 additional deaths with total confirmed cases passing 44,000. However, the pace of new reported cases appears to be slowing down as they hit their lowest levels since late January.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday testified in front of the House Financial Services Committee that the American economy is in a good place, but that the central bank is “closely monitoring” the potential global economic fallout from the virus.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury fell, raising yields to 1.63% from Tuesday’s 1.6%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices picked up $1.44 to $51.38 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices recovered $2.70 to $1,572.80 U.S. an ounce.