More Gains Wednesday for TSX

Suncor, Vermilion in Focus


Stocks in Toronto once again found their way upward by Wednesday’s close, with jumps in health-care powering the index, on advances in fighting the deadly coronavirus.

The TSX recovered 61.28 points on the day to end Wednesday at 17,358.21

The Canadian dollar nosed up 0.07 cents to 77.38 cents U.S.

Britain on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, saying it would start rolling it out early next week.

Health-care issues led the way, with Aurora Cannabis soaring $1.59, or 12.4%, to $14.16, while Aphria picked up 83 cents, or 8.4%, to $10.74.

Among energy plays, Suncor Energy increased 33 cents, or 1.6%, to $20.97, while Vermilion Energy popped 34 cents, or 6.6%, to $5.50.

Consumer staples also fared well, with Alimentation Couche-Tard gaining 90 cents, or 2.1%, to $44.00, while Maple Leaf Foods taking on 74 cents, or 2.8%, to $27.23.

The few subgroups digging into the red included utilities, which encompassed, in part, Northland Power, sagging $1.18, or 2.6%, to $43.95, and Brookfield Renewable Partners, subtracted $1.56, or 2%, to $77.31.

In real-estate, FirstService dropped $5.56, or 3.1%, to $175.56, while First Capital REIT units slid 45 cents, or 2.9%, to $15.27.

In industrials, Ballard Power Systems backtracked $1.25, or 4.8%, to $24.58, while Transcontinenal fell $1.04, or 5.2%, to $18.81.

Economically speaking, Canadian labour productivity fell by a record 10.3% in the third quarter as hours worked rebounded faster than business output.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 9.06 points to 766.17.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher Wednesday, led by health-care, haler by 4.3%, energy, ahead 2.2%, and consumer staples, better by 0.8%.

The three laggards were weighed most by utilities, down 1.1%, real-estate, off 1%, and industrials, 0.4% to the bad.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 rose slightly on Wednesday, eking out another record closing high, as traders digested the latest developments surrounding a new round of U.S. fiscal stimulus negotiations.

The Dow Jones Industrials progressed 59.87 points to 29,883.79. Boeing led the Dow higher with a gain of 5.1%. However, Boeing’s pop was slightly offset by an 8.5% drop in Salesforce after the cloud company confirmed its acquisition of messaging platform Slack for $27.7 billion.

The S&P 500 forged ahead 6.56 points on top of Tuesday’s closing high at 3,669.01. Energy was the best-performing sector in the S&P 500, picking 3.2%, while financials proved next best in the S&P 500, advancing 1.1%,

The NASDAQ dropped 5.74 points from Tuesday’s all-time closing peak to 12,349.37.

Investors digested more positive Covid-19 vaccine news on Wednesday. The UK authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use, marking another step in the global battle against the pandemic.

Wednesday’s losses came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a bipartisan proposal for a $908-billion stimulus package aimed at breaking the stalemate over new stimulus in Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement Wednesday that the bipartisan bill unveiled on Tuesday should be used as "basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations."

Equities were also under pressure after President-elect Joe Biden told The New York Times he would not immediately remove tariffs placed by the Trump administration targeting China.

Despite the positive vaccine data, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell called the economic outlook "extraordinarily uncertain" on Tuesday when he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke before Congress this week as part of mandated updates on CARES Act funding. Mnuchin did call on Congress for $300 billion in aid for restaurants heading into the winter months.

On the data front, private payrolls rose by 307,000 in November, according to ADP. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting 475,000 private jobs were added in November, compared to the 365,000 added in October. The number was also the lowest since July. ADP’s report comes days ahead of the U.S. Labor Department’s monthly jobs report.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury retreated a bit, pushing yields up to 0.94% from Tuesday’s 0.92%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices acquired 63 cents to $45.18 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices improved $14.20 to $1,833.10