TSX Knocks Down More Old Records

Couche-Tard, Aphria in Focus

Stocks in Toronto stayed afloat till the closing bell Wednesday, on the strength of real-estate and consumer stocks.

The TSX remained buoyant 24.93 points, adding to Tuesday’s all-time high at 19,129.07.

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.28 cents at 79.26 cents U.S.

In the real-estate sector, units of Killam Apartment REIT rallied 29 cents, or 1.6%, to $19.04, while those for Summit Industrial Income REIT took on 24 cents, or 1.7%, to $14.60.

In consumer staples, Alimentation Couche-Tard advanced $1.42, or 3.5%, to $41.98, while SunOpta jumped 32 cents, or 1.8%, to $18.52.

In the consumer discretionary field, Gildan Activewear surged $1.21, or 3%, to $41.68, while Canada Goose Holdings flew 83 cents, or 1.6%, to $52.28.

Health-care issues took another wallop Wednesday, with Aphria sinking 69 cents, or 6.1%, to $10.63, while Aphria sank $1.28, or 5.9%, to $20.42.

In the gold patch, Alamos Gold surrendered 20 cents, or 1.9%, to $10.25, while New Gold handed back seven cents, or 3.2%, to $2.15.

Among energy plays, Canadian Natural Resources slipped 69 cents, or 1.8%, to $38.45, while Crescent Point Energy fell six cents, or 1.2%, to $5.01.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada reported this country's merchandise exports decreased by 2.7% in February, while imports fell 2.4%. As a result, Canada's merchandise trade surplus with the world narrowed from $1.2 billion in January to $1.0 billion in February.

Also, the IVEY Purchasing Managers Index out of Western University catapulted to 72.9 in March, towering above the 60.0 reading in February, and racing away from the 26.0 figure for March 2020.

Moreover, Canadian M&A activity in the first three months of the year catapulted to an all-time high as deal-making recovered from the coronavirus fallout, and bankers point to a healthy pipeline of transactions underpinned by easy financing conditions.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange fell 8.87 points to 955.09.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups remained in plus territory through to the close, with real-estate jumping 0.8%, consumer staples up 0.7%, while consumer discretionary gained 0.5%.

The four laggards were weighed most by health-care, down 2.4%, while gold dipped 0.9%, and energy slid 0.6%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 gained slightly to hit a record high on Wednesday as minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed the central bank’s commitment to accommodative policy in order to support a full economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrials finished positive 16.02 points at 33,446.26.

The S&P 500 regained 6.01 points, to 4,079.95, a new closing high.

The NASDAQ Composite hesitated 9.54 points to 13,688.84, even as Big Tech stocks registered solid gains. Amazon, Apple and Alphabet all climbed more than 1%, while Facebook jumped 2.2%.

Fed officials indicated at their last meeting that the pace of asset purchases will stay the same for some time while the central bank pursues its economic goals.

Shares of reopening plays airlines and cruise lines led the gains, continuing their recent run. Carnival climbed 1.4%, while Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line also rose. Shares of United Airlines rose slightly as well.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was optimistic about the U.S. economic comeback from the pandemic in his widely read annual letter released on Wednesday.

"I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the U.S. economy will likely boom,” Dimon said in the letter. “This boom could easily run into 2023 because all the spending could extend well into 2023."

President Joe Biden recently unveiled details of his $2-trillion infrastructure plan that includes a corporate tax rate hike to 28%. He said Wednesday that he is willing to negotiate on the proposed tax increase.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday raised its 2021 growth outlook for the global economy to 6%, up from January’s forecast of 5.5%. The organization said that "a way out of this health and economic crisis is increasingly visible." The IMF did, however, warn of "daunting challenges" given the varied pace of vaccine rollouts around the world.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys sagged, raising yields to 1.67%, from Tuesday’s 1.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices regained 34 cents to $59.67 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices lost $4.60 to $1,738.40 U.S. an ounce.