Stocks

Update: TSX Little Changed, Down 13 Points as Financial Gains Overshadowed by Materials

Canada's main stock market traded in a narrow range on Tuesday and ended modestly lower. The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 13 points or 0.1% to close at 16,502. The index held in a narrow range between 16,553 and 16,500. The all time high close of 16,567 on July 12 of last year remains a key barrier on the upside. Financials and energy stocks led advancers on the TSX today. A late rally pushed U.S. stocks higher with the Dow Jones adding 67 points while the Nasdaq was up 24 points.

On the TSX, healthcare was up more than 1% boosted by cannabis stocks while the financial sector rose 0.6% on stronger U.S. bank earnings. Energy climbed 0.3% as the price of crude rallied 1% to US$64.05 per barrel. Materials were off 1.4% as gold dropped to its lowest price so far this year. Silver and copper were also weaker.

Heavily traded Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained 4% while Village Farms International (VFF.TO) fell 12%. Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), also on the actively-traded list, shed 4%. The day's top performer was Canada Goose (GOOS.TO) up more than 4%, according to S&P Capital IQ. Yamana Gold (YRI.TO) was the worst performer, falling 7%. Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) rose 2% as CEO Bruce Linton said he expects cannabis sales to top $1 billion this year.

In economic news, Canada's 0.2% decline in February manufacturing sales values is consistent with the temporary-slowdown-in the-economy story. The drop was roughly as anticipated. Total manufacturing sales volumes contracted 0.5% in February, which begins the February GDP tally on a weak footing -- consistent with another quarter of tepid growth in Q1. But the BoC expects modest growth in Q1 GDP -- so this report supports the current policy outlook. Relief may be some time away, as temporary auto plant closures in April will keep a lid on manufacturing activity heading into the second quarter.

The Canadian dollar was modestly higher, gaining 6 bps to 74.87 US.

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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