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TSX Pokes into Green

Baystreet.ca
Equities in Canada’s largest centre spent much of Thursday’s session in positive territory, managed ...

Equities in Canada’s largest centre spent much of Thursday’s session in positive territory, managed to stay there before the closing bell, as gains in information technology firms overrode losses in gold and telecoms.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index gained 11.37 points to conclude Thursday’s session at 15,269.27

The Canadian dollar surrendered 0.09 cents at 79.44 cents U.S.

Tech stocks led the way upward, as BlackBerry shares gathered 27 cents, or 2% to $13.27, while Constellation Software spiked $22.70, or 2.7%, to $863.56.

Magna International gained 52 cents to $76.30, to be among the leaders in the consumer discretionary field. Elsewhere, Gildan Activewear added 33 cents to $37.27.

Health-care stocks were also in the green, as Diamedica Therapeutics traveled north six cents, or 11.1%, to 60 cents, while the redoubtable Valeant Pharmaceuticals acquired 51 cents, or 2.5%, to $20.92.

Shaw Communications provided the biggest boost to the index with a rise of $2.21, or 9.2%, to $26.28. The telecom services company beat second-quarter profit expectations as wireless subscribers more than doubled from a year ago. It proved something of an anomaly, as telecoms took their knocks.

BCE, for example, tripped 20 cents to $54.30. Cogeco Communications ducked back 19 cents to $67.50.

Among gold issues, New Gold dropped 10 cents, or 3.4%, to $2.86, while Barrick Gold slid 23 cents, or 1.4%, to $16.22.

Among utilities, Algonquin Power and Utilities lost 16 cents, or 1.3%, to $12.27, while Hydro One dipped 17 cents to $20.94.

U.S. President Donald Trump amended on Thursday an earlier warning of a quick military strike against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians, saying it "could be very soon or not so soon at all".

In the economic picture, lower prices for new homes in Toronto were the main reason for a national price decline in February. Following two consecutive months of no change, new home prices were down 0.2% nationally.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange added 4.66 points Thursday to 782.37

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive, with information technology gaining 1.6%, consumer discretionary stocks ahead 1.1%, and health-care stocks up 0.8%.

The five laggards were weighed most by gold, telecoms and utilities which each fell 0.9%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose sharply on Thursday after President Donald Trump clarified his position on a possible missile attack in Syria, while bank shares popped ahead of earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 293.6 points, or 1.2%, to 24,483.05, with Intel leading the index higher.

The S&P 500 jumped 21.8 points to 2,663.99, as financials gained 1.8%

The NASDAQ Composite index jumped 71.22 points, or 1%, to 7,140.25

Bank shares led the gains, with J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs all climbing more than 2%, ahead of strong earnings expected from the major banks and the broader financial sector. Earnings are expected to grow 24% for financials.

Stocks rebounded Thursday as the latest corporate earnings season began. Before the bell, BlackRock posted earnings per share and revenue that surpassed analyst expectations. The asset manager's stock rose 1.5%.

Delta Air Lines reported quarterly earnings that beat estimates, despite rising costs. The company's stock rose 2.9% on the day.
Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are among the companies scheduled to report Friday morning.

Investors have high expectations for this earnings season. According to FactSet, S&P 500 earnings are forecast to have grown by 17.1% last quarter. That would be the biggest quarterly earnings growth since the first quarter of 2011, when they rose 19.5%.

In a tweet, Trump said: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our 'Thank you America?'"

The major indexes briefly pared gains around midday in New York after media reported the U.S. is considering attacking eight possible targets in Syria.

Stocks also added to their gains after Trump reportedly told lawmakers that a deal was close on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In economic news, weekly jobless claims fell by 9,000 last week to 233,000. Import prices, meanwhile, remained unchanged in March.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell sharply, raising yields to 2.84% from Wednesday’s 2.78%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices regained 31 cents a barrel to $67.13 U.S.

Gold prices dulled $21.90 to $1,338.10 U.S. an ounce.