Update: TSX Gains 66 Points as Trump Exempts Canada from Tariffs, Pending NAFTA Progress

Canada's main stock market was firmer on the day, supported by Trump's move to exclude Canada from steel and aluminum tariffs, pending progress in NAFTA negotiations, and the bullish trend globally. The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 66 points or 0.4% to close at 15,538. The Dow moved from a flat performance to close 93 points higher in a late rally, but that paled in comparison to the 1.3% climb in France's CAC 40 and the 0.9% rise in the German DAX. The TSX shed 72 points on Wednesday.

Gains were broad-based on the TSX Thursday, led by tech and industrials. Financials gained 0.6%. Materials were off 1% as gold prices fell while energy shed 0.2% as crude oil dipped below $60 per barrel before settling at $60.12.

In stock news, WestJet (WJA.TO) shares slumped 4.5% as company CEO Gregg Saretsky announced he was leaving the airline, effective immediately. Heavily traded Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) and Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) were little changed, while Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) gained 1.5%.

In economic news, the annual pace of housing starts beat analysts' expectations as they picked up last month over January. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says starts hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 229.7k units in February. That's up nearly 14.5k from January and well ahead of the 216.6k that economists had expected, according to Thomson Reuters. CMHC says starts in the more affordable multiple urban category increased 15% while single-detached urban starts fell 9.8%. Meanwhile, Canada building permit values grew 5.6% in January following a revised 2.5.% gain in December (was +4.8%). Permits for multiple residential units surged 14.2%, diving the gain in national permits during January. Single residential permit values dipped 1.3% in January. By region, a 71.0% surge in multi-family dwellings in Ontario after the 39.7% drop in December was a stand-out.

The Canadian dollar gained about a tenth of a cent to 77.54 US.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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