Positive Open in Week’s Final Session

Premium, WSP in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest market opened higher on Friday, led by gains in material and financial sectors, with risk appetite revived by signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 73.47 points to lead off Friday’s session at 16,161.02

The Canadian dollar subtracted 0.17 cents at 74.88 cents U.S.

Air Canada suspended its previous forecast for the first quarter and full year after Canada grounded Boeing's 737 MAX jets following a deadly crash in Ethiopia on Sunday.

Shares in the Maple Leaf Airline dipped 55 cents, or 1.7%, to $31.34.

Canaccord Genuity raised the price target on Hexo Corp. to $10.00 from $7.50. Hexo shares picked up a nickel at $8.16.

CIBC cut the price target on Premium Brands Holdings to $72.00 from $82.00. Premium shares rocketed $1.74, or 2.5%, to $72.50.

CIBC raised the price target on WSP Global to $81 from $77. WSP shares gained $1.03, or 1.5%, to $71.53.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada said manufacturing sales increased 1.0% to $57.1 billion in January, following three consecutive monthly decreases.

Higher sales in the food as well as the electrical equipment, appliance and component industries were the main contributors to the gains in January.

Elsewhere, statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association show national home sales plummeted 9.1% month-over-month in February. Actual (not seasonally-adjusted) activity was down 4.4% year-over-year.


The TSX Venture Exchange regained 2.89 points to begin Friday at 623.07

All but one of the 12 TSX subgroups gained in the first hour Friday, with gold and materials each gaining 1%, while industrials were stronger by 0.6%.

Only consumer staples were negative, and only 0.1% at that.


The S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite rose on Friday as investors cheered renewed optimism on the U.S.-China trade front. Wall Street also headed for strong gains for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average docked 36.97 points 25,672.97, as Boeing shares lost more than 1%.

The S&P 500 fell 4.43 points to 2,813.02, lifted by gains s in the tech and materials sectors

The NASDAQ Composite gained 40.25 points to 7,671.16, bolstered by tech shares.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ's advances were kept in check, however, after data showed industrial production rose 0.1% in February. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected an expansion of 0.3%

Equities headed for strong weekly gains on Friday as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up more than 2% each through Thursday's close. The Dow was up 1% lagging its large-cap counterparts as steep losses in Boeing weighed on the 30-stock index.

This week's gains were largely led by tech shares, as the sector surged 4%. The tech sector also became the best-performer of 2019. Nvidia is the best-performing stock in the sector, rising more than 12% while fellow semiconductor stocks like Broadcom and Lam Research also rose sharply this week.

AT&T shares rose 1% after Raymond James upgraded the telecommunications giant to outperform from market perform, citing an attractive valuation relative to rival Verizon.

Semiconductor shares rose broadly on Friday, as Broadcom shares led the gains, rising more than 9% after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke via telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Xinhua news agency reported Friday.

The news comes after reports Thursday that Chinese negotiators suggest combining a state visit to the U.S. with the signing of a trade deal. Beijing wants a deal to be fully ironed out before President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rose sharply, weighing yields to 2.58% from Thursday’s 2.63%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices down 46 cents to $58.15 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $8.40 to $1,295.50 U.S. an ounce.