TSX Edges Higher at Friday Open

CGI, Exchange Income in Focus

Canada's main stock index opened higher on Friday, hovering near an all-time peak, after worries over the coronavirus outbreak in China eased.

The TSX Composite Index nicked higher 5.14 points to begin the week’s final session at 17,626.92

The Canadian dollar dipped 0.01 cents to 76.15 cents U.S.

Tanzania signed agreements with Barrick Gold Corp which aim to end a long-running and costly tax dispute, giving the state a holding in three gold mines whose output is among the country's biggest export earners.

Barrick shares added 16 cents to $24.40.

Nestle has teamed up with Canadian plant-based food ingredient makers Burcon and Merit to speed up innovation in the fast-growing business segment.

Burcon shares popped 42 cents, or 29.9%, to $1.81.

RBC raised the target price on CGI to $125.00 from $115.00. CGI shares gained 28 cents to $113.83.

National Bank of Canada raised the target price on Exchange Income Corp. to $54.00 from $47.00. Exchange Income moved forward 84 cents, or 1.9%, to $44.49.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada says retail sales in Canada rose 0.9% to $51.5 billion, largely offsetting the 1.1% decline in October.

The increase was primarily attributable to higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and food and beverage stores, both of which were down in October.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange regained 0.77 points to 583.15

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups improved, with information technology soaring 0.6%, while gold and utilities each picked up 0.5%.

The five laggards were weighed most by energy, sputtering 1%, health-care, surrendering 0.5%, and consumer discretionary stocks, down 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 turned negative on Friday, giving back its gains from earlier in the day after the second U.S. case of the deadly coronavirus was confirmed.

The Dow Jones Industrials slipped 4.85 points in the first hour to 29,155.24

The S&P 500 slumped 6.51 points at 3,319.03

The NASDAQ inched up 0.92 points from Thursday’s all-time high to 9,403.39.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a Chicago resident who traveled to Wuhan — the Chinese city where the coronavirus originated — in December was diagnosed with the sickness.

Shares of United Airlines and American both fell more than 3%. Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts also dropped more than 2% each.
Stocks stared the session on a strong note after the release of better-than-expected earnings from American Express and Intel.

American Express reported a quarterly profit and revenue that beat analyst expectations. Those results were driven in part by strong card fee revenues. The stock gained more than 3%.

Intel, meanwhile, climbed more than 8% after its fourth-quarter numbers topped estimates. The company also gave an optimistic outlook for the first quarter of 2020.

Those results add to what has been a solid start to the earnings season. More than 16% of the S&P 500 has released quarterly results thus far. Of those companies, about 70% have reported better-than-expected earnings

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury gained ground, lowering yields to 1.70% from Thursday’s 1.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.04 to $54.55 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices advanced $5.40 to $1,570.80 U.S. an ounce.