Easing of Lockdowns Lifts Stocks

HEXO, Barrick in Focus

Equities in Toronto rose in early trade on Tuesday as the continued easing of coronavirus-driven lockdowns and strong gains on Wall Street helped restore investor confidence in equities.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index advanced 45.72 points to reach noon EDT Tuesday at 15,121.14.

The Canadian dollar solidified 0.94 cents to 72.47 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund up 43 cents, or 8.1%, to $5.73, and Enerplus Corp, which rose 18 cents, or 4.8%, to $3.92.

Hexo Corp fell 16 cents, or 14.7%, the most on the TSX, to 93 cents, while the second-biggest decliner was Barrick Gold, down $2.17, or 5.9%, to $34.64.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz on Monday said the policy framework is flexible enough to allow the inflation rate to climb back up to the bank's 2% target more slowly than on average, implying that looser monetary policy was on the cards for the near-term.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 3.57 points to move into noon hour at 538.27.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive midday with financials richer by 3.7%, consumer discretionary shares up 2.1%, and communications better by 1.6%.

The five laggards were weighed most by gold, down 4.9%, information technology, sliding 4.2%, and health-care, off 3.6%

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks surged on Tuesday as optimism grew about the reopening of the economy and a potential coronavirus vaccine.

The Dow Jones Industrials leaped 593.66 points, or 2.4%, to 25,058.82. The 30-stock average traded at levels not seen since early March, jumping above 25,000.

The S&P 500 hiked 48.6 points, or 1.6%, to 3,003.89, breaking above 3,000 for the first time since March 5.

The broader index exceeded its 200-day moving average for the first time since March 6. Many technical analysts look at that moving average as a sign of the long-term trend. Rising above it could signal a change in long-term trend from bearish to bullish.

The NASDAQ strengthened 57.75 points to 9,382.34.

Monday, markets in the U.S. were shuttered for Memorial Day.

American biotech company Novavax said Monday it started the first human study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine. The company said it expects initial results on safety and immune responses in July.

Last week, another biotech Moderna reported positive development on its vaccine trial where all 45 participants had developed coronavirus antibodies. There are 10 vaccines in clinical evaluation and 114 in pre-clinical evaluation.

Economic activity continued to pick up as states begin opening up their economies. Some of the biggest gainers were directly tied to the reopening. Carnival shares jumped 10.8%. MGM Resorts climbed 8.9%. United Airlines and Southwest Airlines rose more than 9% each.

Southwest got a boost from a UBS upgrade to buy. The analyst said the airline has a "clearer path for domestic travel recovery." Separately, Macy’s said it has seen "greater demand than we expected" in its reopened stores. Macy’s shares gained 6.4%.

Data out Tuesday also reinforced the belief that the economy has hit its bottom amid the pandemic. A measure of consumer confidence jumped to 86.6 this month from 85.7 in April, according to the Conference Board. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected consumer confidence of 82.3 in May.

Meanwhile, new home sales in April also topped estimates. Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased by 623,000 last month, beating estimates of 490,000, according to Dow Jones.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury dropped, raising yields to 0.70% from Friday’s 0.66%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices regained 41 cents to $33.66 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices slipped $26.50 to $1,709. U.S. an ounce.