Energy Powers TSX Upward

Encana, Shopify Among Stars

Stocks in Canada’s largest market gained ground on Thursday, with energy leading gains, as a clutch of positive headlines on trade lifted sentiment with high-level trade negotiations between United States and China starting in Washington.

The TSX Composite Index ended Thursday with gains of 42.81 points to 16,422.68

The Canadian dollar strengthened 0.27 cents to 75.21 cents U.S.

In the energy field, Encana surged 15 cents, or 2.7%, to $5.70, while Vermilion Energy improved 39 cents, or 2%, to $19.61.

Tech shares advanced, as Shopify gained $12.70, or 3%, to $431.35, while EXFO picked up nine cents, or 1.8%, to $5.01.

Health-care issues, however, had their troubles: Hexo Corp plummeted $1.12, or 23%, to $3.76, as the cannabis producer withdrew its 2020 forecast, blaming an uncertain environment and slow store rollouts.

Aphria was down 99 cents, or 13.8%, to $6.17

Among consumer staples, Alimentation Couche-Tard dropped 86 cents, or 2.1%, to $40.02, while Empire Company faded 60 cents, or 1.7%, to $35.48.

Among utilities, Brookfield Renewable Partners sank $1.19, or 2.1%, to $55.06, while TransAlta dipped 14 cents, or 1.7%, to $8.15.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada’s new housing price gained 0.1% in August, the first increase since July 2018.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 7.96 points to 542.64

The 12 Toronto subgroups were evenly divided Thursday, with energy pumping higher 1%, information technology soaring 0.6%, while materials collected 0.5%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most heavily by health-care, sinking 5.7%, consumer staples, down 1%, and utilities, sagging 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Thursday after President Donald Trump said he will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday, raising hope the two countries could make progress on the trade front.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off its highs of the day, but still surged 150.66 points to 26,496.67

The S&P 500 improved 18.73 points to 2,938.13

The NASDAQ Composite picked up 47.04 points to 7,975.08

Trade bellwether Caterpillar was the best-performing stock in the Dow, rising 2.7%. Apple shares climbed 1.4%. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase advanced more than 1% each.

In a tweet, Trump said: "Big day of negotiations with China. They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House."

The tweet adds to confused reports as to the status of trade negotiations with Beijing. One report added that higher-level talks with Liu would now be only one day, with the China delegation planning to leave Washington on Thursday instead of Friday as scheduled. The issue of forced technology transfers, which China refused to put on the table, was the reason talks were at a standstill.

The New York Times also reported that the Trump administration is ready to grant licenses for some U.S. companies to sell non-sensitive supplies to Huawei.

Earlier this year, the White House had banned sales to the Chinese tech giant, citing national security concerns. The administration subsequently delayed the ban to allow U.S. businesses to make other arrangements.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell sharply, raising yields to 1.67% from Wednesday’s 1.58%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained $1.07 to $53.66 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices subtracted $14.30 to $1,499.500 U.S. an ounce.