Stocks Manage to Hang Onto Gains

Hexo, Maple Leaf Among Leaders



Thursday proved another day of triple-digit gains for the TSX, on the back of government aid to citizens affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TSX Composite Index ended up with gains of 231.94 points, or 1.8%, to close out Thursday at 13,371.17

The Canadian dollar sprang up 0.81 cents at 71.14 cents U.S.

Legislators handed out a package worth $52 billion, up from an initial $27 billion outlined last week.

The province of Ontario forecast on Wednesday a jump in its 2020-21 budget deficit as it provides a $17-billion financial package in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Health-care stocks proved the strongest on the day, with Hexo surging 35 cents, or 32.1%, to $1.44, while Aurora Cannabis soared 24 cents, or 22.6%, to $1.30.

The consumer staples sector enjoyed gains, with Empire Company jumping $1.66, or 6.2%, to $28.54, while Maple Leaf Foods advanced $1.39, or 6.7%, to $22.00.

Among industrials, Waste Connections triumphed $6.38, or 6.3%, to $108.15, while NFI picked up $3.53, or 29.4%, to $15.95.

Among the laggards were gold issues, with Wesdome Gold fading 44 cents, or 4.9%, to $8.50, while B2Gold dipped 21 cents, or 4.6%, to $4.97.

In the energy sector, Baytex Energy tumbled four cents, or 10.8%, to 33 cents, while MEG Energy gave back 14 cents, or 9.3%, to $1.37.

Elsewhere in the resource sector, Methanex subsided $2.51, or 12.1%, to $18.27, while Hudbay Minerals fell 20 cents, or 7.3%, to $253.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange came off its highs of the day, but still gained 2.76 points to 398.43.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups reported gains, with health-care issues popping 4.1%, consumer staples improving 2.1%, and industrials gining 1.9%.

Gold weighed most among the four laggards, sinking 3%, while energy fell 2.3%, and materials docked 1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks surged for a third straight day Thursday as investors shrugged off the release of record-breaking initial jobless claims while the Senate passed a massive economic stimulus bill amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones Industrials ballooned 1,351.62 points, or 6.4%, to 22,552.17. The Dow capped off its biggest three-day surge since 1931. Over the past three days, the Dow is up more than 20%.

The broader S&P 500 gained 154.51 points, or 6.2 %, to 2,630.07, posted a three-day winning streak.

The NASDAQ jumped 413.24 points, or 5.6%, to 7,797.54, as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all jumped more than 4%.

Boeing, Chevron and Walgreens drove the Dow’s gains, with each stock rising more than 10%. Utilities and real estate were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, both closing more than 7% higher.

Stocks still have a lot of ground to make up for before returning to record highs. The Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ ended Thursday’s session down at least 20.7% from their respective all-time highs set last month.

The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday unemployment benefit claims soared to 3.28 million last week, a record. That number blew past the Great Recession peak of 695,000. However, the record-setting number was still better than some of the direst estimates on Wall Street. Citi, for example, expected a spike to four million.

Thursday’s moves came as the Senate unanimously approved a $2-trillion economic relief package late Wednesday, which aims to cushion the blow from the coronavirus outbreak. The stimulus bill now heads to the House, which will push to pass it by voice vote Friday morning as most representatives are out of Washington.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained slightly, lowering yields to 0.84% from Wednesday’s 0.85%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dipped $1.38 to $23.11 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained $10.80 to $1,649.50 U.S. an ounce.