TSX Opens Higher on U.S. Stimulus Bet

Vermilion in Focus

Canada's main stock index opened higher on Thursday, on bets of expanded U.S. stimulus package to aid economic recovery after Democrats took control of the Senate.

The TSX raced higher 138.97 points to kick off Thursday at 17,967.08.

The Canadian dollar sagged 0.31 cents to 78.64 cents U.S.

Canada's oil sands production hit a record high in November, according to the latest regulatory data, and will likely continue to rise as producers ramp up output following the end of provincial government production curtailments in Alberta.

Stephens raised the target price on Restaurant Brands International to $73.00 from $55.00. Restaurant Brands stock rose $2.58, or 3.4%, to $79.04.

Canaccord Genuity raised the target price on Vermilion Energy to $7.50 from $5.00. Vermilion shares 23 cents, or 3.6%, to $6.65.

Democrats on Wednesday won two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in runoff elections in Georgia, giving the party control of the chamber and boosting the prospects for President-elect Joe Biden's legislative agenda.

On the economic beat, Western University’s IVEY School of Business’ Purchasing Managers Index for December dropped to 46.7 from November's 52.7, and down from the 51.9 figure in December 2019.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange recovered 8.29 points to 905.81.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive in the first hour, with health-care shares higher 4.8%, energy better by 1.7%, and information technology up 1.5%.

The four laggards were weighed mostly by gold, off 0.8%, communications down 0.6%, and consumer staples fading 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose to all-time highs on Thursday as Congress confirmed the election of Joe Biden as president.

The Dow Jones Industrials continued their rapid rise, taking on 264.74 points, to 31,094.14.

The S&P 500 hiked 54.21 points to 3,802.54, and also reached a record.

The NASDAQ resurfaced 264.32 points to 13,005.53, breaking above 13,000 for the first time — as shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet all gained at least 2%.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase rose 4.2% after the banking giant was upgraded to buy by an analyst at Bank of America. Walgreens Boots Alliance rose 5.7% to lead the Dow higher on the back of stronger-than-expected quarterly results. The financials and tech sectors rose more than 2% each to lift the S&P 500.

Late Wednesday evening, the Capitol building was secured and Congress reconvened to continue the process to confirm Biden’s win. That affirmation came early Thursday morning with the House of Representatives and the Senate rejecting efforts to object to the acceptance of the Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Earlier on Wednesday, pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol just as lawmakers started the procedural process of counting the Electoral College votes and formally declaring Biden the winner.

Investors managed to look past the chaos in Washington, however, with the Dow posting a record close.

On the data front, initial jobless claims came in at 787,000 for the week ending Dec. 31, the U.S. Labor Department said. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 815,000.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury collapsed, propelling yields to 1.08% from Wednesday’s 1.03%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices removed two cents to $50.61 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices jumped nine dollars to $1,917.60 U.S. an ounce.