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TSX Ends Higher For 3rd Straight Day

After a sharp rally that lifted the benchmark by a little over 450 points at one stage, the Canadian stock market started parting gains, after very nearly falling into the red, recovered to end on a firm note on Thursday, extending gains to a third straight session.

The U.S. Senate's nod to a massive $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package and Canada's multi-billion dollar relief package aided sentiment.

Canada's relief package allows the government to spend C$107 billion in emergency aid and economic stimulus to assist Canadians struggling financially. The package includes C$52 billion in direct support for individuals and companies, versus an initial cost estimate of C$27 billion. It also includes C$55 billion in temporary tax deferrals for households and businesses.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up 231.94 points, or 1.77%, at 13,371.17, well off the day's high of 13,592.34.

The index ended 4.52% up on Wednesday, after closing nearly 12% up a day earlier.

Healthcare, industrial, utilities, consumer staples and information technology shares rose sharply. Telecommunications and financial shares too posted impressive gains. A few stocks from real estate and consumer discretionary sections scored strong gains. Materials shares were largely subdued, while energy stocks declied on weak crude oil prices.

Hexo Corp (HEXO.TO) soared nearly 35%. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained about 19% and Aphria (APHA.TO) notched up a gain of 11%.

Enbridge (ENB.TO), Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ.TO) and Air Canada (AC.TO) gained 2.3 to 3.4%.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO) and Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC.TO) gained a little over 1% each, on strong volumes.

Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO), Suncor Energy (SU.TO), MEG Energy (MEG.TO) and B2Gold Corp (BTO.TO) lost 4.5 to 6.3%. Yamana Gold (YRI.TO), Kinross Gold Corporation (K.TO) and Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) also ended notably lower.

U.S. stocks rose sharply as investors shrugged off weak jobless claims data and pick up shares, reacting to news that the Senate voted to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus package.

The Dow spiked 6.4%, the Nasdaq soared 5.6 percent and the S&P 500 skyrocketed 6.2%, all ending near their highest levels of the day.

European markets closed sharply higher, while markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended on a mixed note.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended down $1.89, or about 7.7%, at $22.60 a barrel.

Gold futures for April ended up $17.80, or about 1.1%, at $1,651.20 an ounce, after scaling a high of $1,672.50 earlier in the session.

Silver futures for May ended down $0.197 at $14.676 an ounce, while Copper futures for May closed lower by $0.0260 at $2.1780 per pound.

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