Toronto Stocks Flat by Finish

Cannabis Stocks among Subgroup Leaders

Stocks in Canada’s largest centre lifted themselves from lower perches to within sight of breakeven by the close on Friday, with health-care and industrials shouldering much of the climb.

The TSX remained in the red 0.84 points from Thursday’s all-time high, to close Friday at 19,228.03. On the week, however, the index enjoyed a gain of 237 points, or 1.26%.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.23 cents at 79.82 cents U.S.

Among energy stocks, Tourmaline Oil stepped back 75 cents, or 3%, to $23.91, while Cenovus Energy dipped 25 cents, or 2.6%, to $9.52.

In the gold patch, New Gold faded 10 cents, or 4.3%, to $2.24, while Centerra Gold lost 17 cents, or 1.5%, to $11.59.

In consumer staples, North West Company gave back 76 cents, or 2.1%, to $36.13, while SunOpta ditched 59 cents, or 1.5%, to $38.89.

Health-care stocks led those groups on the upward path, with Aurora Cannabis took on 44 cents, or 4.1%, to $11.16, while Canopy Growth added 67 cents, or 1.9%, to $36.42.

Industrial stocks also found positive ground, with CAE progressing $1.02, or 2.7%, to $38.94, while GFL Environmental jumping 92 cents, or 2.1%, to $45.57.

Communications also cleared breakeven, with Corus vaulting 41 cents, or 7%, to $6.26, while Telus moved 13 cents higher to $25.84.

On the economic platform, Statistics Canada reported that unemployment rose 303,000 (or 1.6%) in March. Combined with an increase of 259,000 (1.4%) in February, this brought employment to within 1.5% (or 296,000) of its February 2020 level.

The unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 7.5%, the lowest level since February 2020.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange docked 3.36 points to 959.37, for a loss on the week of 1.5 points, or 0.15%.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, with health-care up 0.4%, while industrials and communications stocks each crept up 0.2%.

The five laggards were weighed most by energy, slouching 1.4%, gold, dulling in price 0.4%, and consumer staples, declining 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks climbed to record levels and closed out Friday at their session highs as Wall Street wrapped up the week with solid gains amid rising reopening optimism.

The Dow Jones Industrials ascended 299.21 points to 33,802.78

The broader index gained 31.63 points, to 4,128.80, for its third straight record.

The NASDAQ Composite soared 70.88 points to 13,900.18.

The blue-chip Dow climbed 2% this week, while the S&P 500 gained about 2.7%, posting its best week since early February. The NASDAQ rallied 3.1% over the same period as major technology names outperformed. Apple jumped more than 8% this week, while Amazon and Alphabet both gained more than 6%.

Stocks linked to the recovering economy led the gains again amid the accelerating vaccine rollout. Carnival Corp rose 2.6% after getting two upgrades on Wall Street amid pent-up demand and potential summer restart. General Electric climbed more than 1%. JPMorgan added 0.8%.

The major averages are poised to end the week higher. The Dow is up more than 1% this week. The S&P 500 has gained about 2% since Monday, while the NASDAQ has rallied 2.4%.

On the data front, the producer price index, which measures wholesale price inflation, jumped in March. The March PPI data showed a rise of 1.0%, compared with a projected increase of 0.4% from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Year over year, the PPI surged 4.2%, which marks the largest annual gain in more than nine years.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys fell, raising yields to 1.64% from Thursday’s 1.62%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices dropped 17 cents to $59.43 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slumped $12.30 to $1,745.90 U.S. an ounce.