Stocks Move Sideways by Noon

Cineplex, Pan American in Focus

Canada's main stock index struggled for direction on Thursday as investors weighed a slide in energy stocks and rising U.S.-China trade tensions against hopes of an economy recovery as countries reopened more businesses.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index recovered from negative readings in the morning to gain 52.89 points to reach noon at 15,324.92

The Canadian dollar was unchanged at 72.68 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainer on the TSX was Cineplex, which jumped 4.6% after the entertainment company said it expects to reopen all its cinemas in July as it secured an additional $110 million from lenders and a waiver on loan covenants to help it survive the pandemic crisis.

Mining company Pan American Silver was the second largest gainer, rising 4.5%.

BRP fell 9.3%, the most on the TSX, after the sport apparel maker reported its first quarter results.

The second biggest decliner was methanol supplier Methanex down 4.2%.

On the economic sheet, Statistics Canada said payroll employment in this country decreased in March by 914,500, or 5.4%, from February, in line with the 5.3% decrease in total employment observed in the Labour Force Survey.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange added 4.43 points to pause for lunch to 545.53.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups advanced, with health-care up 2.8%, while information technology and materials improved 1.5% each.

The three laggards were energy and financials, each down 1.3%, and real-estate, down 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose for a third time this week on Thursday as the latest unemployment data signaled the worst of the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic may be over.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 131.44 points to 25,679.71.

The S&P 500 added 18.88 points to 3,055.52.

The NASDAQ zoomed 72.23 points to 9,484.58.

The S&P 500 is up 2.7%, while the NASDAQ has climbed 0.9% and the Dow is better by 4.4% since the start of the holiday-shortened week.

The Dow is on track for its best week since the week ended April 8.

Gains were kept in check after China’s National People’s Congress approved a national security bill for Hong Kong. The bill will bypass Hong Kong’s legislature, raising concerns over the longevity of Hong Kong’s “one party, two systems” principle, which allows additional freedoms mainland China does not have.

The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday another 2.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. That’s more than a Dow Jones estimate of 2.05 million.

To be sure, the pace of new filings has dropped from previous weeks. Continuing claims, which represent a better unemployment picture, plunged by nearly four million in their first decline since the coronavirus outbreak.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were lower, raising yields to 0.7%, from Thursday’s 0.69%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices picked up 85 cents to $33.66 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices jumped $6.80 to $1,733.60 U.S. an ounce.