TSX Continues on the Move

Manulife in Focus

Equities in Canada’s largest centre hit highs dating back over five months on Thursday, supported by technology, materials and financial stocks as well as optimism that the U.S. Federal Reserve would flatten its monetary tightening trajectory.

The TSX Composite gained 74.33 points as noon EST approached on Thursday at 20,356.59.

The Canadian dollar nosed up 0.05 cents to 75.01 cents U.S.

Among stocks, Manulife Financial rose 21 cents to $24.01, after the insurer said it will outsource its property operations in Canada to focus on its entrepreneurial investment management unit.

Techs, however, proved far and away the strongest subgroup, with Sylogist Ltd. sprinting 29 cents, or 6%, to $5.10, while Payfare climbed 19 cents, or 4.6%, to $4.37.

Even as U.S. markets are shut for the Thanksgiving holiday, investors took comfort from minutes of the Fed's November policy meeting that noted it was more important to focus on how high rates will need to rise to tame inflation than the size of coming rate increases.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem also noted that domestic inflation remained strong, and higher interest rates were the medicine to soothe the economy.

Analysts are pricing in an 88% chance of a 25-basis-point hike at the BoC's next meeting on Dec. 7. Such a move would take the policy rate to 4%, a level last seen in January 2008.

On the economic calendar, Statistics Canada says the number of employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer—referred to as "payroll employees" in the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours—rose by 85,300 (+0.5%) in September.

Oil prices sank 38 cents to $77.56 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices soared $11.40 to $1,757.00 U.S. an ounce.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange grabbed 2.66 points to move into noon hour at 579.41.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. markets are closed for Thanksgiving Day