Update: TSX Posts Measured Gains Friday, Boosted by Stronger Oil Prices

Canada's main stock market kept up with Wall Street Friday, benefiting from gains in energy and healthcare. The S&P/TSX Composite rose 40 points or 0.3% to close at 15,711. The TSX was up about 0.9% for the week. South of the border, the Dow Jones also added 0.3% Friday, gaining 1.6% for the week.

The TSX's energy sector gained more than 2% as oil prices climbed above $62 per barrel. Healthcare rose more than 1% while materials added 0.3% despite weaker gold and silver prices . Financials were up 0.1% while consumer issues weighed on the index.

In stock news, Element Fleet Management (EFN.TO) gained 0.3% Friday after plummeting Thursday as the struggling Bay Street finance company said it will take a restructuring charge, cut staff and close offices as part of a recovery plan that will take the rest of 2018 to implement. Transat AT (TRZ.TO) shed 7% after stating Thursday that a series of deadly hurricanes that whipped through parts of the Caribbean last fall is going to have a damaging impact on its winter results. Shares in Enbridge (ENB.TO) and TransCanada (TRP.TO) were up 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively today, recovering from a steep sell-off yesterday prompted by a tax ruling in the U.S. Enbridge shares dropped 4.2% and TransCanada fell 2.1% Thursday after the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission eliminated a tax break for companies that own interstate pipelines in the U.S. through master limited partnerships. Heavily traded Bombardier (BBD-B.TO) gained 1% today while Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) was off more than 2%. Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) gained 3.5%, helping to boost the healthcare sector.

In economics news, manufacturing shipments fell 1.0% in January, as expected, following a revised 0.1% dip in shipment values during December (was -0.3%). An 8.0% tumble in motor vehicle and parts drove the decline in total shipments. The drop in motor vehicle and parts followed gains in November and December, and was due to lower production amid atypical plant shutdowns, according to Statistics Canada. Aerospace production fell 9.5% after a 4.4% gain in December, with the January decline partly due to the appreciation of the loonie relative to the dollar. A 6.5% gain in petro and coal sales was a bright spot in January, as higher prices provided a boost to the sector (volumes were up 2.2%). Total sales volumes contracted 1.1% in January, weighing on the outlook for January GDP. Meanwhile, Canada saw a $5.7 billion investment inflow from abroad in January after the $1.5 billion divestment in December. Foreign investors focused on the money market in January, adding $6.1 billion to their portfolios. Bonds saw a $3.3 billion reduction after the $4.3 billion divestment in December. Federal government bond holdings were cut by $1.6 billion after a $0.6 billion reduction in December. Canadians acquired $13.3 billion in foreign securities during January after the record $22.0 billion purchase in December. Investment abroad was driven by stock purchases, which totaled $11.6 billion. Stocks purchased were mostly in the U.S., where equities rallied 5.6% in January.

The loonie was trading around 76.38 US, down about a quarter of a cent, due to diverging policy outlooks amid the BoC and Fed, along with trade worries.

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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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