TSX Maintains Gains

Bombardier, Constellation in Focus

Canada's main stock index built on gains on Thursday, as a rise in shares of Bombardier and Constellation Software on the back of strong quarterly results offset some of the gloom from a surprise drop in U.S. retail sales.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index jumped 69.25 points to end Thursday at 15,695.98

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.19 cents at 75.23 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Bombardier, which jumped 47 cents, or 23%, to $2.51 after beating analysts' estimates for quarterly earnings on the back of higher sales at its business jets segment.

The second-biggest gainer was Constellation Software Inc which rose $139.44, or 14.1%, to $1,130.90 after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

Sierra Wireless Inc fell $5.47, or 26.6%, to $15.11, after the wireless equipment maker posted lower-than-expected fourth quarter profit and revenue.

Another of the biggest decliner was New Gold Inc., down 42 cents, or 25.8% to $1.21, after the miner posted quarterly revenue below estimates.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada said manufacturing sales declined for the third consecutive month, down 1.3% to $56.4 billion in December on lower sales of petroleum and coal products. Excluding petroleum, manufacturing sales declined 0.3%.

The agency also said new housing prices were unchanged at the national level for the fifth consecutive month in December.

New home builders in 17 of the 27 census metropolitan areas surveyed reported flat or lower prices in December. Prices at the national level were largely unchanged throughout 2018.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange faded 1.59 points to 608.40

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower on Thursday following the release of much weaker-than-expected retail sales data.

The 30-stock index dropped 103.88 points to 25,439.39, as shares of Coca-Cola had their worst day since 2008.

The S&P 500 subtracted 7.3 points to 2,745.73, as the consumer staples and financials sectors lagged.

The NASDAQ Composite gained 6.58 points to 7,426.96, as Netflix's stock climbed more than 2%.

Stocks are on track to post solid gains this week. The three major indexes are all up at least 1% through Thursday's close.

Retail sales fell 1.2% in December, marking their biggest monthly drop since September 2009, according to The Commerce Department. The department also said retail sales fell 0.9% in December when excluding gasoline station sales.

The data were enough to dampen market sentiment as investors continue to follow news of the U.S.-China trade talks. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that talks were "going very well" as both sides look to reach an agreement before an early March deadline.

Furthermore, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with U.S. delegates on Friday, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury jumped, lowering yields to 2.65% from Wednesday’s 2.71%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices recovered 59 cents to $54.49 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained 30 cents to $1,315.40 U.S. an ounce.