TSX Scores Narrow Gains


Equities in Canada’s largest centre avoided the pitfalls into which their American cousins tripped, and actually came out in plus territory to end the day and the week.

The TSX Composite gained a respectable 19.3 points to close Friday at 21,849.15. On the week, the index gained 111 points, or 0.5%.

The Canadian dollar sidled back 0.04 cents to 73.83 cents U.S.

Health-care led the parade, with Tilray Inc. perking 17 cents, or 7.8%, to $2.35, while Bausch Health Companies sprang up 14 cents, or 1.1%, to $12.46.

In materials, First Quantum Minerals soared 95 cents, or 6.8%, to $15.01, while Lithium Americas hiked 64 cents, or 7.9%, to $8.77.

In utilities, Brookfield Infrastructure captured 79 cents, or 2%, to $39.86, while Superior Plus advanced 20 cents, or 2.1%, to $9.94.

BlackBerry weighed on tech stocks going in the other direction, down 32 cents, or 7.7%, to $3.83, while Enghouse Systems off $1.43, or 4.4%, to $30.87.

In consumer discretionary stocks, Restaurant Brands tumbled $3.41, or 3.1%, to $106.95, while Canadian Tire fell $2.49, or 1.9%, to $131.88.

Energy stocks wavered, too, with Canadian Natural Resources sinking $1.33, or 1.3%, to $98.28, while Pason Systems retreated 17 cents, or 1.2%, to $13.53.

On matters economic, foreign investment in Canadian securities amounted to $8.9 billion in January, led by acquisitions of government debt securities. Meanwhile, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by $7.6 billion, led by sales of equity securities.

Moreover, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said housing starts totaled 253,000 in February, compared to 223,200 in the same month last year.

Wholesale sales grew 0.1% to $82.4 billion in January.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange forged ahead 1.43 points to 550.90. On the week, however, the index lost 24.8 points, or 4.3%.

Eight of the 12 subgroups were higher on the session, with health-care ahead 1.7%, materials stronger 1.2%, and utilities surging 0.7%.

The four laggards were weighed most by information technology and consumer discovery, each scampering back 0.6%, and energy, weakening 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 fell on Friday and was on track to end the week lower, with technology stocks under pressure as inflation concerns remain front and center ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

The Dow Jones Industrials swooned 190.89 points to end the week at 38,714.77.

The much-broader index gave back 33.39 points to 5,117.09.

The NASDAQ faltered 155.35 points, or 1%, to 15,973.17.

The S&P 500 is down roughly 0.3% from the start of the week, while the 30-stock Dow declined 0.2% and NASDAQ shed 0.7%.

Tech shares were broadly lower, with Apple and Microsoft down more than 1% and 2%. Shares of Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet also fell. Nvidia bucked the trend, however, climbing more than 1%. The chipmaker has whipsawed this week as traders worry about the stock’s valuation and book profits in the high-flying name.

Trading volumes was elevated and prices proved volatile Friday as futures and options on stock indexes and individual stocks all expire simultaneously in a process known as “triple witching” that happens once a quarter.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury lost ground, lifting yields to 4.31% from Thursday’s 4.29%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices skidded 26 cents to $81.00 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sagged $7.20 to $2,160.30.



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