Stocks Edge Higher at Open

Central Bank Stays Put

Equities in Canada’s largest centre opened higher on Wednesday, supported by energy and material stocks, as investors hope for U.S. stimulus as Joe Biden takes over as the 46th president.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 12.49 points to commence business Wednesday to 17,957.37.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.08 cents to 78.52 cents U.S.

Pfizer Inc told Canada on Tuesday it will receive no coronavirus vaccines next week, officials said, an unexpected development that promises more pain for provinces already complaining about a shortage of supplies.

National Bank of Canada cut the rating on Boralex to sector perform from outperform.

Laurentian Bank Securities cut the rating on Fortuna Silver Mines to hold from buy.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.7% on a year-over-year basis in December, down from a 1.0% increase in November. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.1% in December.

The Bank of Canada today held its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of 0.25%, with the Bank Rate at 0.5% and the deposit rate at 0.25%

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange hiked 11.15 points, or 1.2%, to close the day at 931.48.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups stayed in plus territory throughout the session, as energy zoomed 2.4%, information technology and health-care each surging 1.5%.

The five laggards were weighed most by consumer discretionaries and consumer staples, each bowing 0.7%, and communications, sliding 0.5%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks climbed for a second day on Wednesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, while a slew of strong corporate earnings boosted sentiment on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrials jumped 175.16 points to 31,105.68.

The S&P 500 strengthened 40.61 points, or 1.1%, to 3,839.52, an all-time high, led by the communication services sector.

The NASDAQ leaped 220.74 points, or 1.7%, to 13,417.92, to a record amid a pop in Netflix shares.

Netflix soared more than 13% after the company reported strong subscriber growth and said it’s considering share buybacks. Netflix handily beat estimates for global paid net subscriber additions, reporting 8.5 million versus the 6.47 million analysts anticipated. The company also said it expects to break even on a cash flow basis this year.

Shares of streaming-competitor Disney jumped more than 2% following Netflix’s strong subscriber numbers.

Morgan Stanley gained 2.2% after earnings and revenue topped estimates on solid trading and wealth management results.

Procter & Gamble raised its forecast and said revenue last quarter jumped on higher pandemic demand for cleaning products. The stock traded 1% lower, however.

Biden will succeed President Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States shortly after noon ET. His inauguration speech will focus on the need to bring the country together on the heels of a violent riot on Capitol Hill and amid extreme partisanship in Congress.

Investors will also be on the lookout for any further information about Biden’s $1.9-trillion Covid-19 relief plan unveiled last week. On Tuesday, Janet Yellen, Biden’s designated nominee for Treasury Secretary, endorsed higher aid spending and urged lawmakers to “act big.”

Biden’s stimulus proposal calls for direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans and additional unemployment benefits as well as state and local government aid. He also announced a sweeping plan to combat the pandemic in the U.S., which includes a nationwide vaccine campaign.

The U.S. fell far short of its goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of last year. While the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed has delivered over 31.1 million doses across the country, only 12.3 million people have been inoculated.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury slipped, raising yields to 1.10% from Tuesday’s 1.09%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 55 cents to $53.53 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $22.60 to $1,862.80 U.S. an ounce.