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TSX Flat at Finish

Stocks seesawed throughout Thursday, with equities in Canada’s largest centre eking lower by the closing bell.

The TSX finished 5.14 points south of breakeven, to 20,188.19.

After a strong start to 2023, the TSX has fallen 2.8% so far in February as signs of strength in major global economies spurred fears that central banks would stick to their aggressive monetary tightening.

Gold stocks folded, as Equinox Gold dropped 22 cents, or 4.4%, to $4.73, while Torex Gold flopped 45 cents, or 2.8%, to $15.50.

In materials, Ivanhoe Mines fell 84 cents, or 7%, to $11.21, while Pan American Silver collapsed 74 cents, or 3.5%, to $20.62.

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Financials dipped with Sprott down 74 cents, or 1.5%, to $49.66, while Definity Financial slipped 70 cents, or 2%, to $35.10.

Shares of Bausch Health jumped $1.59, or 13.5%, to $13.33, after the medical device maker beat revenue estimates for fourth quarter. Cronos Group took on four cents, or 1.4%, to $2.96.

In the energy field, Advantage Oil gained 42 cents, or 5.4%, to $8.22, while Nuvista Energy acquired 59 cents, or 5.5%, to $11.26.

Stantec climbed $6.57, or 9.3%, to $77.56 as the construction company beat fourth-quarter profit estimates, and RBC Capital Markets upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "sector perform.” WSP Global climbed $4.89, or 2.9%, to $174.81.

With more than half the companies on the TSX having reported results, 63.3% have topped fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada unveiled payroll numbers for December. The agency said employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer—measured as "payroll employees" in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours—rose by 91,400 (+0.5%) in December, bringing cumulative gains since September to 240,600 (+1.4%).

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange poked up 1.25 points to 620.43.

Seven of the 12 subgroups retreated, with gold down 0.8%, materials crumbling 0.7%, financials off 0.4%.

The five gainers were led by health-care, ballooning 4.6%, energy, roaring ahead 2.1%, and industrials up 0.6%.

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ON WALLSTREET

Stocks closed higher amid volatile trading Thursday as investors remained concerned about the path of the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes.

The Dow Jones Industrials recovered 108.82 points to finish off Thursday at 33,153.91.

The S&P 500 finally gained 21.27 points to 4,012.32.

The NASDAQ Composite restocked 83.33 points to 11,590.40.

The major averages are still on pace to end the week on a downturn, with the S&P 500 on track for its worst weekly performance since Dec. 16.

The Fed has been a focal point for investors this week since the rollout of its latest meeting minutes. Policymakers indicated that inflation “remained well above” the central bank’s 2% target, even as data has shown “a welcome reduction in the monthly pace of price increases.”

Prices for the 10-year Treasury eked up, lowering yields to 3.89% from Wednesday’s 3.92%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained $1.62 to $75.57 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices got punished $11.60 to $1,829.90 U.S. an ounce.