Stocks Flat by Noon Hour

BlackBerry, Aphria in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest market rose slightly midday Tuesday, helped by strength in energy stocks, as data showing growth in domestic wholesale trade in November bolstered sentiment.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index paused for lunch Tuesday up 11.94 points to 17,956.82, off its highs of the morning.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.06 cents to 78.50 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were BlackBerry, which jumped $1.52, or 11.5%, to $14.72, and Vermilion Energy, which rose 43 cents, or 6.6%, to $6.93.

Aphria Inc fell 50 cents, or 3.1%, the most on the TSX, to $15.92, and the second-biggest decliner was its peer Aurora Cannabis, down 60 cents, or 3.9%, to $14.62.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported wholesale trade grew for the seventh consecutive month in November—up 0.7% to an all-time high of $67.4 billion.

The agency goes on to say five of seven sub-sectors reported stronger sales, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies sub-sector and the building material and supplies sub-sector.

Also, manufacturing sales decreased for the first time in three months, declining 0.6% to $53.7 billion in November, driven mainly by the aerospace product and parts, motor vehicle, and motor vehicle parts industries.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange hiked 8.77 points, or 1%, to move into noon hour at 929.10.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive halfway through the session, as energy zoomed 1.4%, real-estate pointed upward 0.7%, and industrial stocks surged 0.5%.

The five laggards were weighed most by consumer discretionary, off 1.4%, consumer staples, tumbling 0.9%, and health-care, paling 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks edged higher on Tuesday, rebounding from a rough week, as investors digested results from the new earnings season as well as signals for another big stimulus and faster pace of vaccine distribution ahead.

The Dow Jones Industrials came off their morning highs, but were still favourable 63.35 points to 30,877.61.

The S&P 500 strengthened 14.1 points to 3,782.29

The NASDAQ acquired 82.25 points to 13,080.61.

Shares of Goldman Sachs erased earlier gains and last traded 1.5% lower as traders took profits after the bank topped expectations for fourth-quarter profit and revenue. The blowout results came on the back of strong performance from its equities traders and investment bankers.

Bank of America dipped 1% after the bank posted quarterly revenue that missed expectations. Earnings came in slightly ahead of estimates, however.

The first week of earnings season saw a historically high proportion of beats with 88% of the S&P 500 companies that reported exceeding EPS estimates, according to Bank of America.

While the earnings cycle started out strong, many on Wall Street believe fourth-quarter earnings have been priced in and the market is focused on the 2021 outlook and the ultimate size of fiscal stimulus that would translate into profit growth.

Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s designated nominee for Treasury Secretary and a former chair of the Federal Reserve, will appear before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. Yellen’s prepared remarks call for the federal government to enact a large stimulus to help the economy.

The U.S. stock market was closed on Monday in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury gained ground, dropping yields to 1.09% from morning’s 1.11%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 69 cents to $53.05 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices hiked $10.90 to $1,840.80 U.S. an ounce.