Markets Have Trouble Getting Untracked at Open

Kinaxis, Equinox in Focus


Equities in Canada’s biggest market were flat at the open on Friday, even as energy stocks climbed on higher crude prices, with sentiment also buoyed by a surprise trade surplus in January.

The TSX faded 13.98 points to begin the week’s last session at 18,111.74

The Canadian dollar inched back 0.01 cents at 78.86 cents U.S.

TD Securities cut the price target on Equinox Gold to $20 from $22. Equinox ducked five cents to $10.08.

CIBC raises price target on Granite REIT to $85.00 from $83.00. Units of Granite REIT moved upward 16 cents to $73.05.

CIBC cut the price target on Kinaxis Inc. to $200.00 from $288.00. Shares in Kinaxis collapsed $8.42, or 6.2%, to $127.07.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Vermilion Energy, up 86 cents, or 9.8%, to $9.68, and Methanex Corp, which spiked $3.38, or 6.9%, to $52.26.

Martinrea International toppled $1.53, or 10.1%, the most on the TSX, to $13.67, after the automobile parts producer's fourth-quarter results.

On the economic schedule, Statistics Canada reports that this country posted a trade surplus of $1.4 billion in January, the first since May 2019, owing to a sharp 8.1% increase in merchandise exports. Imports rose 0.9% in January compared with the previous month.

Western University’s IVEY School of Business’ Purchasing Managers Index The index registered 60 for February, towering above the 48.4 reading in January, and also surpassing the 54.1 figure for February 2020.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange tumbled 18.71 points, or 2%, to 907.60.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were negative in the first hour, with information technology down 2.6%, health-care failing 1.8%, and gold off 0.9%.

The four gainers were led by energy, up 3.1%, communications, up 1%, and financials, ahead 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks cut earlier gains on Friday even after a stronger-than-expected jobs report boosted optimism about a faster economic reopening.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 83.39 points to lead off Friday at 31,007.53

The S&P nicked ahead 0.85 points to 3,769.32.

The NASDAQ Composite dropped 100.56 points to 12,622.94.

Tech stocks led the market decline Thursday, especially those with high valuations and small or no profitability. The NASDAQ dropped 2.1% Thursday, bringing its losses this week to 3.6%. The tech-heavy benchmark also turned negative for the year and fell into correction territory, or down 10% from a recent high, on an intraday basis.

The S&P 500 and the Dow both fell more than 1% Thursday. Energy outperformed with a 2.5% gain in the previous session amid a jump in oil prices.

Stocks that would benefit from a rapid economic comeback gained in the wake of the jobs report. Energy stocks like Occidental Petroleum gained more than 3%. Banks and many retailers jumped.

The U.S. Labor Department on Friday reported that non-farm payrolls jumped by 379,000 for the month and the unemployment rate fell to 6.2%. That compared to expectations of 210,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate to hold steady from the 6.3% rate in January, according to Dow Jones.

Friday’s rally followed a steep selloff on Thursday triggered by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks on rising bond yields. The Fed chair said the recent runup caught his attention but he didn’t give any indication of how the central bank would rein it in. Some investors had expected Powell to signal his willingness to adjust the Fed’s asset purchase program.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys sagged, raising yields to 1.55% from Thursday’s 1.55%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices picked up $2.11 to $65.94 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slid $4.80 to $1,695.90.