Negative Close for TSX

Cenovus in Spotlight


Equities in Canada’s biggest market took a few bruises as the week and the month of March started to wind down, lower prices for energy and gold stocks the main culprits.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index slid 78.87 points to finish Thursday at 15,578.76

The Canadian dollar backpedaled 0.04 cents at 74.96 cents U.S.

Cenovus shares tumbled $2.40, or 13.8%, to $15.05, after the Canadian company agreed to buy oil sands and natural gas assets from ConocoPhillips for $17.7 billion.

Suncor Energy took a dive of 86 cents, or 2.1%, to $41.19.

Among gold holdings, Goldcorp fell 35 cents, or 1.8%, to $19.54, while Barrick Gold reversed 45 cents, or 1.8%, to $25.12.

Dollarama Inc's quarterly profit beat analysts' estimates as the average amount customers spent at its stores increased, sending the Canadian discount retailer's shares to a record high, up $11.14, or 11.2%, at $110.88.

Canadian Tire shares hiked $1.16 to finish at $156.49.

In the telecom sector, TELUS picked up a penny to $43.15, while Rogers Communication added 50 cents to $58.82.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada reported that its industrial product price index increased 0.1% during February, mostly due to higher prices for meat, fish and dairy products and primary non-ferrous metal products.

The Raw Materials Price Index gained 1.2%, mainly as a result of higher prices for animals and animal products.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange subtracted 4.24 points to 807.81

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were down on the day, as energy slid 2.3%, gold faded 1.8%, and materials fell 0.8%

The five gainers were led by consumer discretionary stocks, up 1.3%, while information technology and telecoms each picked up 0.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. equities traded higher on Thursday as investors digested key economic data and kept an eye on oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrials increased 72.26 points to 20,731.58, with Goldman Sachs and UnitedHealth proving the strongest stocks

The S&P 500 gained 6.93 points to 2,368.06, with financials rising more than 1% to lead advancers.

The NASDAQ Composite marched ahead 16.8 points to 5,914.34

Friday marks the last day of the first quarter. Entering Thursday's session, the NASDAQ composite had gained 9.6%, while the S&P and Dow had risen 5.5% and 4.5% respectively.

However, March has been a mixed month for stocks as investors digested the defeat of a Republican-led bill that would have replaced Obamacare. The S&P and NASDAQ were up 0.3% and 1.3% for the month, respectively, while the Dow tracked for slight losses.

In economic news, the U.S. economy grew at a rate of 2.1% in the final quarter of last year, more than was expected. Other data released Thursday included weekly jobless claims, which fell by 3,000 to 258,000.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note lost ground, lowering yields to 2.42% from Wednesday’s 2.38%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices climbed 80 cents to $50.31 U.S. a barrel

Gold prices sank $10.60 at $1,243.10 U.S. an ounce.