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TSX Continues To Scale New Peaks

The Canadian stock market hit fresh highs on Wednesday although price movements were a bit sluggish amid somewhat cautious moves by investors.

The latest batch of economic data, commodity prices and updates on virus spread and vaccine campaign were in focus. Investors also reacted to the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

Shares from consumer, real estate and telecom sections were among the notable gainers. A few stocks from information technology and financial sectors moved higher, while healthcare stocks drifted lower. Materials and energy stocks were also a bit weak.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which hit a new high at 19,177.96, ended the day with a gain of 24.93 points or 0.13% at 19,129.07, a new closing high.

Firstservice Corp (FSV.TO), First Capital REIT Units (FCR.UN.TO) and CDN Apartment (CAR.UN.TO) were among the notable gainers in the real estate space.

Consumer discretionary stock Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO) gained about 3%. Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO) and Restaurant Brands International (QSR.TO) gained 1.55% and 1.4%, respectively.

In the consumer staples section, Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B.TO) rallied 3.7%, while Saputo Inc (SAP.TO) and Sunopta Inc (SOY.TO) ended higher by 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively.

Healthcare stocks Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) and Aphria Inc (APHA.TO) declined 6.4% and 6%, respectively. Cronos Group (CRON.TO), Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO), Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL.TO) and Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) also ended sharply lower.

Data released by Statistics Canada a little while ago showed the country recorded a trade surplus of C$1.04 billion in February after coming in at a revised C$1.21 billion in the previous month.

Exports were down at C$49.86 billion in February, from C$51.22 billion a month earlier, while imports came in at $48.82 billion in the month, after coming in at C$50.02 billion in January.

The Ivey Purchasing Manager's Index in Canada jumped to 72.9 in March of 2021 from 60 in the previous month and above market estimates of 60.5. It was the highest reading since March of 2011 and the second-highest since the survey began in 2000, pointing to a strong improvement in the economic activity.

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