Stocks Gain at Open on U.S. Stimulus Hope

Finning, First Quantum in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest centre started Thursday on the right foot, helped by strength in both health-care and tech stocks, while optimism about a large U.S. stimulus package and upbeat Chinese export data further boosted sentiment.

The TSX gained 43.47 points to kick off Thursday at 17,978.21.

The Canadian dollar forged ahead 0.09 cents at 78.78 cents U.S.

France's Labour Minister joined the political opposition to a takeover of French retailer Carrefour by Alimentation Couche-Tard, whose shares began the session in Toronto nicked a penny higher to $37.11.

RBC raised the target price Aritzia to $32.00 from $29.00. Aritzia shares spiked $1.30, or 5.2%, to $26.20.

CIBC raises the rating on Finning International to outperform from neutral. Finning took on 50 cents, or 1.7%, to $29.84.

JP Morgan cuts the rating on First Quantum Minerals to underweight from neutral. First Quantum shares took on 35 cents, or 1.4%, to $24.59.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange jumped 10.38 points to 910.62.

Seven of the 12 subgroups were positive in the first hour, with health-care haler 3.7%, information technology up 1.4%, and consumer discretionary ahead 0.5%.

The five laggards were weighed most by gold, down 0.6%, industrials, fading 0.4%, and materials weaker by 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as traders weighed a potential big economic stimulus package and more good vaccine news versus pressure from weak economic data and political turmoil.

The Dow Jones Industrials spiked 129.01 points to open Thursday at 31,189.48, led by Boeing and Intel.

The S&P 500 jumped 12.51 points to 3,822.35

The NASDAQ added 84.01 points to 13,212.96.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected on Thursday evening to unveil a stimulus plan that will include a boost to the recent $600 direct payments, an extension of increased unemployment insurance and support for state and local governments. The stimulus could reportedly be as big as $2 trillion.

Trial data published on Wednesday showed that Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine is safe and generates a promising immune response.

However, investors also digested worse-than-expected jobless claims data. First-time claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 965,000 last week, higher than an estimate of 800,000 new claims, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

The market held up in the previous session even as House members voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time — making him the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice — as a bipartisan majority charged him with inciting a riot in the U.S. Capitol last week.

Wednesday’s slight gains for the S&P 500 and NASDAQ came after Intel rallied nearly 7% to lead tech stocks higher. They also followed U.S. interest rates easing from their highest levels since March 2020.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were unchanged, keeping yields at Wednesday’s 1.10%.

Oil prices fell back 15 cents to $52.76 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices erased $13.70 to $1,841.20 U.S. an ounce.