(RTTNews.com) - The Canadian stock market shrugged off a weak start and moved higher on Thursday, extending its winning streak to a tenth session, riding on reports the U.S. is considering lifting tariffs on Chinese goods.
The start was quite weak with lower crude oil prices and rising concerns about U.S.-China trade tensions forcing traders to tread cautiously. But stocks soon recovered lost ground and gradually climbed higher as the session progressed.
Media reports said the U.S. is considering lifting tariffs on Chinese goods in an effort to calm markets and give Beijing an incentive to make deeper concessions. Citing people close to internal deliberations, Wall Street Journal said that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed the idea of lifting some or all tariffs in a series of strategy meetings.
The report helped lift the mood of investors who were a bit upset earlier on reports that prosecutors were pursuing a criminal investigation of China's Huawei Technologies for allegedly stealing trade secrets from U.S. partners.
Financial, materials, consumer discretionary and industrials shares moved up. Shares from telecommunications and utilities sections too found support. Energy stocks rebounded after a weak spell, while healthcare stocks ended mixed.
The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 99.96 points, or 0.66%, at 15,211.22, after scaling a low of 15,066.46 and a high of 15,238.07 intraday.
The Capped Financial Index gained 0.83%. Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) and National Bank of Canada (NA.TO) gained 0.5 to 1.2%.
Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) and Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) also ended on a firm note.
Among the stocks in the Materials Index, Nutrien (NTR.TO) gained 2.9%, Teck Resources (TECK.B.TO) added 1.5%, First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO) advanced by 2.3%, CCL Industries (CCL.B.TO) gained 2.2% and Kirkland Lake Gold (KL.TO) ended higher by about 1.5%.
Among energy shares, Suncor Energy (SU.TO) ended nearly 2% up, Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) gained 1.1%, Imperial Oil (IMO.TO) ended nearly 1% up and Vermilion Energy Inc. (VET.TO) advanced by 2.3%.
Husky Energy (HSE.TO) gained nearly 12.5% after the company said that its offer for MEG Energy Corp. (MEG.TO) expired on January 16 and that the minimum tender condition was not met. The company said that due to insufficient MEG Board and shareholder support, it has decided not to extend its offer. Accordingly, the company said that all MEG shares that have been tendered to the offer will be promptly returned to shareholders. Meanwhile, shares of MEG Energy plunged nearly 36%.
Consumer discretionary shares Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO), Dollarama Inc. (DOL.TO), Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC.A.TO), The Stars Group (TSGI.TO) and BRP Inc. (DOO.TO) gained 1.2 to 2.5%, while Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO) gained 4.5%.
In the industrials space, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO), Waste Connections (WCN.TO), Air Canada (AC.TO), Ritchie Bros. (RBA.TO) and Toromont Industries (TIH.TO) gained 0.8 to 2%
Bombardier (BBD.B.TO) gained nearly 3.5% after the company's CEO said that the company aims to make a decision this year on the future of its CRJ regional jet as it keeps pursuing new orders to secure its industrial future.
Among the stocks in the information technology index, Kinaxis Inc. (KXS.TO), Descartes Systems Group (DSG.TO), Celestica Inc. (CLS.TO), Enghouse Systems (ENGH.TO) and Sierra Wireless (SW.TO) gained 1 to 1.6%.
In the telecom space, Quebecor Inc. (QBR.B.TO), Shaw Communications (SJR.B.TO), Cineplex (CGX.TO) and Cogeco Communications (CCA.TO) ended higher by 1 to 1.6%.
In the utilities section, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners gained 2.6% and AltaGas (ALA.TO) advanced by 1.2%.
Among healthcare stocks, Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED.TO) surged up 2.3%, Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) ended 3.2% up, Cronos Group (CRON.TO) added 2.1% and Extendicare (EXE.TO) gained 1.7%.
Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) declined 2.2% and Knight Therapeutics (GUD.TO) ended 1.8% down. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO) ended 10.5% down after the company announced plans for a $250 million debt offering.
The U.S. stock market rallied after a weak start and ended with solid gains. The Dow and the Nasdaq both gained about 0.7% and the S&P 500 ended 0.8% up.
In U.S. economic news, a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed a significant acceleration in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the month of January. The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region jumped to 17.0 in January from 9.1 in December.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended January 12th. The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 213,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 216,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 220,000.
European markets ended mostly lower, with traders largely making cautious moves due to renewed concerns about U.S.-China trade tensions, profit warning by Societe Generale and on worries about the likely impact of the partial government shutdown in the U.S.
In economic news from Europe, a report from Eurostat said that Eurozone inflation slowed to 1.6% in December from last year, confirming its preliminary estimates released earlier in January.
According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the outlook for the U.K. housing market over the next quarter is the worst in 20 years due to uncertainty around Brexit.
Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance on Thursday.
In commodities, crude oil futures for February ended down $0.24, or 0.5%, at $52.07 a barrel, well off the day's low of $50.98.
Gold futures for February ended down $1.50, or 0.1%, at $1,292.30 an ounce, after closing at a near two-week high on Wednesday.
Silver futures for March settled at $15.536 an ounce, down $0.102 from Wednesday's close.
Copper futures for March ended at $2.680 per pound, down by $0.007 from previous close.
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