Canada's main stock index extended gains for a third straight session on Thursday, as gold miner stocks gained, while hopes for fresh stimulus in United States further lifted sentiment.
The TSX stayed positive 80.11 points by noon EST Thursday to 17,647.53
The Canadian dollar jumped 0.17 cents to 78.62 cents U.S.
Among resource stocks, Seabridge Gold, which climbed $1.81, or 7.5%, to $25.8, and MAG Silver, which jumped a dollar, or 4.7%, to $22.51.
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals fell $1.72, or 8.9%, the most on the TSX, to $17.59, after the biotech firm announced a licensing agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.
The second biggest decliner was pot producer Aphria, down 44 cents, or 4.3%, to $9.87, after Stifel downgraded it to "hold" from "buy".
The TSX Venture Exchange popped 14.27 points, or 1.8%, to 814.30, down only slightly from the morning highs.
The 12 TSX subgroups were still divided between gainers and losers, with information technology clicking 2% higher, gold better by 1.9%, and materials 1.6% to the good.
The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by health-care, ailing 1.5%, while real-estate docked 0.6%, and energy slid 0.4%.
The S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite rose to record highs on Thursday, boosted by hope of Washington coming through on additional fiscal aid before the end of 2020.
The Dow Jones Industrials moved into noon hour Thursday up 112.41 points to 30,266.95. Johnson & Johnson rose 1.8% to lead the Dow higher.
The S&P 500 climbed 14.36 points to 3,715.53. Utilities and materials were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, rising about 1% each
The NASDAQ advanced 62.28 points above Wednesday’s record closing high, to 12,720.47
Congressional leaders on Wednesday closed in on a $900-billion stimulus package that would include direct payments to individuals.
Media reports say the measure would exclude liability protections for businesses as well as aid to state and local governments.
Disagreements over those issues have been a stumbling block in the latest round of negotiations.
The latest round of U.S. fiscal stimulus talks comes as COVID-19 cases increase at a record pace. The U.S. is recording at least 215,729 additional COVID-19 cases each day, based on a seven-day average calculated using Johns Hopkins University data. On Wednesday alone, more than 247,000 new infections were confirmed.
This resurgence in COVID-19 cases has led to states re-imposing stricter social-distancing measures that are slowing down parts of the economy, especially the labour market.
On Thursday, data showed jobless claims totaled 885,000 last week, hitting their highest level since early September. Economists expected 808,000 workers sought state jobless benefits during the week ended Dec. 12.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve pledged to do its part by continuing to buy bonds until the economic recovery was completed. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also said the central bank would increase its bond purchases if the recovery slows down.
Prices for the 10-Year Treasury dipped, raising yields back to Wednesday’s 0.92%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices improved 42 cents to $48.24 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices spiked $35.00 to $1,894.10