Equities Doggedly Hold onto Gains

IBM in Vogue

Stocks in Canada’s largest centre ebbed and flowed Wednesday, but managed to hang onto gains by the closing bell, powered mostly by communications issues.

The TSX Composite Index gained 27.58 points to conclude Wednesday’s session at 17,599.06

The Canadian dollar dumped 0.39 cents to 76.10 cents U.S.

Communications led the parade, with Rogers Communications up $2.16, or 3.4%, to $66.73, while Cogeco Communications gained $2.43, or 2.4%, to $106.03.

Health-care stocks fared well, too, with Aphria surging 55 cents, or 7.9%, to $7.50, while Aurora Cannabis acquired seven cents, or 2.7%, to $2.67.

Tech stocks strengthened, with BlackBerry climbing 10 cents, or 1.2%, to $8.71, while Kinaxis gained $1.38, or 1.3%, to $110.08

Energy stocks faded, however, with Enerplus sank 43 cents, or 5.4%, to $7.53, while Tourmaline Oil dropped 43 cents, or 2.9%, to $14.26.

Among industrials, Ballard Power dipped $1.24, or 8.6%, to $13.11, while Bombardier eased three cents, or 2.3%, to $1.26.

On the economic slate, Statistics Canada’s new housing price index for December rose 0.2% in December, the largest monthly increase for the month of December since 2009.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.2% on a year-over-year basis in December, matching the increase in November. On a seasonally-adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.4% in December.

The agency also reported wholesale trade declined 1.2% to $63.2 billion in November, the third decline in five months.

The Bank of Canada did as expected, maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1.75% The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2% and the deposit rate is 1.5%

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange moved higher 2.9 points to 585.36

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher on the day, with communications improving 1.3%, health-care better by 1.1%, and information technology 0.7% to the good.

The pair of laggards proved to be energy, down 0.6%, and industrials, dropping 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks ended a volatile session along the flatline on Wednesday despite strong gains from IBM that lifted the overall technology sector.

The Dow Jones Industrials floundered 9.77 points to finish at 29,186.27

The S&P 500 edged ahead 0.96 points at 3,321.75

The NASDAQ was positive 12.96 points to 9,383.77, touching an intraday high.

IBM shares climbed 3% on the back of quarterly numbers that beat analyst expectations. The company also issued 2020 earnings guidance that topped estimates. These results put IBM “on its front foot for 2020,” Nomura Instinet analyst Jeffrey Kvaal said in a note. “IBM is quickly pivoting its existing businesses toward the hybrid cloud.”

Apple, meanwhile, gained 0.4% and hit an all-time high. Tesla shares jumped 4.1% as the electric car maker’s market cap broke above $100 billion for the first time. Semiconductor stocks also hit an all-time high, as Intel and Teradyne advanced more than 2.8% each.

However, Netflix closed 3.6% lower to offset some of those gains. Boeing also fell more than 1% to amid renewed concerns over the 737 Max.

So far, more than 10% of S&P 500 companies have posted their latest quarterly results. Of those companies, 75% have posted better-than-forecast earnings.

Tesla shares, meanwhile, rose 6.3% as the electric car maker’s market cap broke above $100 billion for the first time. Semiconductor stocks also hit an all-time high, as Intel and Qorvo advanced more than 2% each.

Stocks pulled back slightly on Tuesday as worries over the spreading of the deadly coronavirus dampened investor sentiment. Those fears eased Wednesday after China unveiled measures to rein in the virus.

Overall, stocks are off to a strong start for the year. Through 13 sessions, the S&P 500 has closed lower just five times and is up 2.8%.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury regained lost strength, lowering yields to Tuesday’s 1.77%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slid $1.78 to $56.80 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices inched up 80 cents to $1,558.70 U.S. an ounce.