TSX Hesitant as Fed Stops Rate Hikes

Apple Trumpets Gains

Canada's main stock index struggled upward on Thursday, as investors remained on the sidelines after the U.S. Federal Reserve abandoned any interest rate hikes this year amid signs of an economic slowdown.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index poked up 12.9 points to open Thursday at 16,180.46

The Canadian dollar slipped 0.26 cents at 74.98 cents U.S.

National Bank of Canada cut the rating on Alamos Gold to sector perform from outperform. Shares in Alamos slinked lower 18 cents, or 2.6%, to $6.85.

CIBC raised the price target on Alimentation Couche Tard to $82.00 from $80.00. The convenience store chain gained 28 cents to $72.48.

Canaccord Genuity raised the price target on Curaleaf Holdings to $14 from $13.50. Curaleaf zoomed $1.43, or 14.6%, to $10.43.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits fell to 435,600 in January, down 9,800, or 2.2%, from December.

Also, wholesale trade rose 0.6% to $63.5 billion in January, a second consecutive monthly gain. In volume terms, wholesale sales increased 0.7%.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange eked higher 0.86 points to 638.83

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher, with health-care and materials each growing 0.7%, and gold better by 0.6%.

The two laggards were financials, down 0.5%, and consumer discretionary stocks, off 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks were little changed on Thursday as Apple surged, but gains were capped after the Federal Reserve's latest policy announcement sparked worries about the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recovered 80.99 points to start out Thursday at 25,826.66, as a 2% gain in Apple offset a decline in J.P. Morgan Chase.

The S&P 500 took on 9.71 points to 2,833.94

The NASDAQ Composite gained 39.39 points to 7,768.35

Apple rose after Needham upgrade the stock to strong buy from buy, citing "value upside" in the firm's ecosystem. Thursday's gains led the stock to break above its 200-day moving average for the first time since November.

Biogen tanked more than 26% after discontinuing trials for a drug aimed at treating Alzheimer's Disease.

These moves come after a slew of negative commentary from companies like FedEx, BMW and UBS.

Equities are on track to post a muted weekly performance, with the major indexes little changed. On top of digesting the Fed's announcement, investors are also grappling with mixed news on the trade front. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Washington's tariffs on Beijing could stay on for a "substantial period of time."

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury gained a mite, lowering yields to 2.52% from Wednesday’s 2.53%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices fell 16 cents to $60.07 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices added $10.20 to $1,311.90 U.S. an ounce.