Canada's main stock market started the holiday-shortened week on a positive note, closing in on the record highs seen last summer. The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 34 points or 0.2% on Monday to close at 16,515. The TSX rose 81 points on Friday and is up more than 15% this year. U.S. markets were modestly weaker today, with the Dow Jones off 27 points and the Nasdaq off 8 points.
Sector-wise on the TSX, materials added 0.8% and financials were up 0.6%. However, those gains were mostly offset by losses in healthcare (-3.7%) and energy (-0.5%). Oil and gold prices were both weaker today.
Instock news Lundin (LUN.TO) jumped 8% after buying a gold-copper mine in Brazil for $1 billion from Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), which fell 3%. Heavily traded Aphria (APHA.TO) slumped 14% after reporting revenue gains but a quarterly earnings loss. Other cannabis stocks were weaker, including Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO), down nearly 4%.
In economic news, Canadian businesses reported a more somber mood in early 2019, as reported by the Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey (BOS). The summary measure fell to -0.6 (from 2.2 previously), returning to negative territory for the first time since late 2016. Key headwinds are a more uncertain outlook, notably in the energy sector and some housing-related areas, as well as global trade tensions. Meanwhile, Canada's existing home sales edged up just 0.9% in March (m/m) after a 9.1% plunge in February. The March gain was a bit on the soft side of projections but was not a shock given the underlying weakness in home sales since early 2018.
The Canadian dollar lost about a quarter of a cent to 74.79 US.
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