Stocks Flat Despite Optimism over Possible Vaccine

Pfizer in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest market inched up on Friday as optimism over progress in a possible COVID-19 vaccine offset concerns over rising global infections and signs of a stalling economic recovery.

The TSX began Friday crawled up 0.05 points to 16,501.08,

The Canadian dollar recovered 0.12 cents to 75.71 cents U.S.

CIBC raised the target price on Constellation Software to $1,865.00 from $1,750.00. Constellation shares climbed $15.24, or 1%, to $1,521.99.

National Bank of Canada raised the rating on Paramount Resources to sector perform. Paramount shares advanced 11 cents, or 4.5%, to $2.58.

National Bank of Canada cut the rating on Storm Resources to sector perform from outperform. Storm shares were static at $2.17.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada revealed non-resident investors acquired $15.5 billion of Canadian securities in August, largely purchases of debt securities.

At the same time, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign securities by $5.7 billion, led by acquisitions of U.S. shares.

Manufacturing sales fell 2.0% to $52.4 billion in August, following three consecutive months of strong increases.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange moved tentatively higher, 1.21 points to 728.59.

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided between gainers and losers, utilities led the former half, up 0.9%, while information technology issues took on 0.6%, and industrials picked up 0.5%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by energy, 1.7% less energetic, while health-care waned 0.8%, and gold slid 0.7%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose on Friday, boosted by strong U.S. retail sales data as Wall Street tried to snap a three-day losing streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 168.97 points to open the week’s final session at 28,663.17.

The S&P 500 hiked 26.62 points to 3,509.96.

The NASDAQ recovered 102.91 points to 11,816.78.

The market also got a boost after Pfizer said it would apply for emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine as soon as it reaches certain safety milestones that it expects to have in late November. Meanwhile, Europe’s aviation regulator said Boeing’s 737 Max jet is safe to fly again. Boeing shares rose 5%.

Wall Street was coming off its third consecutive daily decline amid uncertainty around further coronavirus stimulus as well as fears of a worsening pandemic around the world.

The major averages suffered their third straight day of losses on Thursday, their longest losing streak in nearly a month.

Lawmakers in Washington continued to send mix signals about progress toward a stimulus deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the White House won’t let differences over funding targets for Covid-19 testing derail stimulus talks with top Democrats.

Later, President Donald Trump said that he would raise his offer for a stimulus package above his current level of $1.8 trillion. House Democrats have passed a $2.2-trillion bill.

Figures released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department revealed that retail sales jumped 1.9% in September, easily topping a Dow Jones estimate of 0.7%. Excluding autos, sales were up 1.5%. That’s also better than a 0.4% estimate.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury lost ground, lifting yields to 0.74% from Thursday’s 0.73%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices were down 48 cents at $40.48 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices moved ahead $1.60 to $1,910.50