Stocks Start Week on Wrong Foot

BMO, Corus in Focus

Equities in Canada’s most major centre fell on Monday as lower gold prices more than offset the boost from a jump in crude prices, while investors geared up for the quarterly corporate earnings season.

The TSX subtracted 27.27 points from Friday’s close, to open the week at 19,200.76.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.14 cents at 79.65 cents U.S.

Bank of Montreal entered into an agreement with Ameriprise Financial to sell its EMEA asset management business for about $1.1 billion in an all-cash transaction. Shares in "The First Canadian Bank" eked higher 10 cents to $114.99.

Corus Entertainment rose 14 cents, or 2.2%, to $6.40, and Vermilion Energy
gained 12 cents, or 1,4%, to $8.81.

Aphria sank $2.57, or 12.6%, the most on the TSX, to $17.79 after the company reported a third-quarter loss due to a coronavirus-induced slump in demand and one-time costs related to its deal for alcoholic beverages maker SweetWater.

Aurora Cannabis was down 76 cents, or 6.8%, to $10.39.

Scotiabank raised the price target on Cameco to $25.00 from $23.00. Cameco dipped 72 cents, or 3.3%, to $20.86.

Deutsche Bank raised the price target on First Quantum Minerals to $32.00 from $30.00. First Quantum shares fell $1.12, or 4%, to $26.69.

CIBC raised the price target on MTY Food Group to $64.00 from $63.00. MTY shares lost 20 cents to $55.40.

CIBC raised the price target on Richelieu Hardware to $44.00 from $41.00. Richelieu shares gained 27 cents to $42.54.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange slipped 7.82 points to 951.53.

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided, with energy gaining 0.5%, while consumer discretionary and staples each picked up 0.4%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by health-care, down 4.5%, gold, sinking 1.1%, and materials, off 0.9%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks held steady near record levels on Monday as muted trading resumed before the first-quarter earnings season and the release of widely-watched inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrials slumped 87.31 points to 33,713.29.

The broader index dipped 9.4 points, to 4,119.40,

The NASDAQ Composite retreated 84.38 points to 13,815.80.

Reopening plays fell slightly with shares of Carnival and Gap off about 1%. United Airlines fell about 1% after the carrier said its first-quarter revenue is expected to fall 66% compared with the same period in 2019. The new guidance fells near the top of the range between 65% and 70% that the company had previously forecast.

Shares of Nuance Communications jumped 18% after Microsoft announced it will buy the speech recognition company in a $16 billion deal. The Nuance acquisition represents Microsoft’s largest acquisition since it bought LinkedIn for more than $26 billion in 2016.

Tesla gained 1.5% to around $686 after Canaccord Genuity upgraded the stock to buy and raised its price target to $1,071, citing its battery innovations.

The first-quarter earnings reporting season begins this week, with expectations set for broadly positive news and an uptrend for U.S. equities thanks to a recovering economy. Many of the nation’s largest banks, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will this week report results for the three months ended March 31.

The coming week is also packed with Federal Reserve speeches and key economic data including a hotly anticipated inflation reading Tuesday, when the U.S. consumer price index is released.

The central bank’s chairman, Jerome Powell, kicked off the week of multiple Fed appearances with an interview that aired Sunday evening on CBS News’ "60 Minutes."

During the interview, Powell reiterated that the Fed wants to see inflation rise above its 2% for an extended period before officials move to raise interest rates.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys fell, raising yields to 1.68% from Friday’s 1.64%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices added $1.35 to $60.67 U.S. a barrel.

Gold dropped $8.80 to $1,736.00 U.S. an ounce.