Stocks

Update: TSX Little Changed Thursday as Oil & Gold Prices Drop Sharply

Canada's main stock market was stuck in neutral Thursday, held back by declines in oil and gold prices. A virtually empty domestic calendar put the focus on U.S. data, where a firmer than expected gain in the PPI provided an unpleasant surprise for the bond market and left stocks looking for direction. The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 3 points to close at 16,399. U.S. stocks were also little changed, with the Dow Jones losing 14 points and the Nasdaq off 16 points.

Sector wise on the TSX, healthcare led decliners as cannabis stocks wilted. Materials were off 0.8% as gold prices sunk below the $1,300 per ounce mark. Energy was down 0.1% as oil prices shed 1.6%. On the plus side, tech gained 1% while financials were up 0.2%.

In stock news, Cogeco Communications (CCA.TO) slipped 3% despite being upgraded to a buy rating by Desjardins. Dollarama (DOL.TO) shed 1.7% on an analyst downgrade. Heavily traded Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) declined 2% while the Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD.TO) and Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) both dropped around 4%.

In economic news, Canada's new housing price index was flat in February after slipping 0.1% in January. The index grew 0.1% y/y in February after the 0.1% decline in January that marked the first annual contraction since the Great Recession in 2009. The housing market continues to adjust to government measures designed to cool once hot housing markets, which were implemented at the beginning of 2018. Bank officials have said the adjustment in the market to 2018's government housing measures has taken a bit longer than expected -- the uncertainty surrounding Canada's housing market adjustment adds to the strong case for no change in rates this year from the Bank of Canada. Friday's economic calendar contains no major reports.

The Canadian dollar was off nearly a third of a cent to 74.80 US as crude oil prices declined sharply on reports that an economic slowdown could hurt demand for crude.

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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