Stocks Hold on to Gains by Close

Aphria, Aurora in Focus

Equities in Toronto descended from their highs of the day by the close of business on Thursday, but retained gains as health-care stocks sprinted, though weighed down somewhat by weakness in consumer stocks.

The TSX gained 23.35 points to conclude Thursday at 17,958.09.

The Canadian dollar sprang 37 cents at 79.13 cents U.S.

Aphria shares galloped $2.55, or 20.1%, to $15.25, while Aurora Cannabis
jumped $1.21, or 8.7%, to $15.08.

Energy stocks were also in the winner’s circle, with Crescent Point Energy advancing 33 cents, or 9.2%, to $3.91, while Husky Energy added 33 cents, or 5.1%, to $6.76.

Among financial stocks, Industrial Alliance charged ahead $2.62, or 4.7%, to $58.61, while Power Corporation of Canada rose 98 cents, or 3.3%, to $30.87.

In consumer staples, Alimentation Couche-Tard staggered $1.03, or 2.8%, to $36.06, while Empire Company dawdled 86 cents, or 2.4%, to $35.15.

In industrial stocks, Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers stumbled $2.21, or 2.7%, to $78.31, while Canadian Pacific docked $10.91, or 1.4%, to $95.99.

Communications stocks also staggered as Cogeco Communications sank $1.39, or 1.4%, to $95.99, and Rogers Communications dipped 60 cents, or 1%, to $60.31.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange leaped 14.11 points, or 1.6%, to 914.35.

Seven of the 12 subgroups remained in the green midday, with health-care vaulting 4.4%, energy surging 2.1%, and information technology up 1.4%

The five laggards were weighed most by industrials, fading 0.8%, consumer staples, down 0.5%, and gold dimmer by 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell slightly on Thursday, with tech shares declining, as traders awaited the unveiling of a potentially big economic stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrials faltered 68.95 points to close Thursday at 31,991.52. Earlier in the day, the 30-stock average rose more than 150 points.

The S&P 500 dipped 16.31 points to 3,795.54

The NASDAQ subtracted 16.31 points to 13,112.64, after hitting an all-time high earlier in the session.

Shares of Facebook dropped 2.4%. Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft and Apple all declined by more than 1%. Alphabet dipped 0.9%.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected on Thursday evening to unveil a stimulus plan that will include a boost to the recent $600 direct payments, an extension of increased unemployment insurance and support for state and local governments. The stimulus could reportedly be as big as $2 trillion.

Trial data published on Wednesday showed that Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine is safe and generates a promising immune response.

However, investors also digested worse-than-expected jobless claims data. First-time claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 965,000 last week, higher than an estimate of 800,000 new claims, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

The market held up in the previous session even as House members voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time — making him the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice — as a bipartisan majority charged him with inciting a riot in the U.S. Capitol last week.

Wednesday’s slight gains for the S&P 500 and NASDAQ came after Intel rallied nearly 7% to lead tech stocks higher. They also followed U.S. interest rates easing from their highest levels since March 2020.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury slumped, raising yields to 1.13% from Wednesday’s 1.10%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gathered 72 cents to $53.63 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices erased $6.70 to $1,848.20 U.S. an ounce.