Canadian Market Modestly Higher In Early Afternoon Trade

After a positive start and a subsequent fall into the red, the Canadian market recovered a bit and is modestly higher about an hour past noon on Thursday, led by gains in consumer staples and materials sections.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which slipped to 19,969.70, is up 52.77 points or 0.26% at 20,055.04 nearly an hour past noon.

Investors are reacting to the U.S. Labor Department data showing a bigger than expected increase in consumer prices in the month of May. The data said the U.S. consumer price index rose by 0.6% in May after climbing by 0.8% in April. Economists had expected consumer prices to increase by 0.4%.

The report also showed consumer prices in May were up by 5% compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting the biggest spike since August of 2008. The annual rate of core consumer price growth also accelerated to 3.8% in May, which represents the biggest jump since June of 1992.

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank, led by ECB President Christine Lagarde, today left key interest rates unchanged and maintained the size of the pandemic emergency purchase programme, or PEPP, at EUR 1,850 billion.

The ECB has raised Eurozone growth forecasts for this year and next and said the risks to the outlook were balanced. Policymakers also raised the inflation forecast for the two years, but expect underlying inflationary pressures to remain subdued.

Consumer staples stock The North West Company (NWC.TO) is gaining 3.25%. Empire Company (EMP.A.TO), Premium Brands Holdings (PBH.TO), Saputo Inc (SAP.TO), Loblaw (L.TO), Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B.TO) and Weston George (WN.TO) are up 1.2 to 1.7%.

Materials stocks First Majestic Silver Corp (FR.TO), Silvercrest Metals (SIL.TO), Endeavour Mining (EDV.TO), Dundee Precious Metals (DPM.TO), MAG Silver Corp (MAG.TO) and Ssr Mining Corp (SSRM.TO), Silvercorp Metals (SSL.TO) are gaining 2.5 to 4%.

Among healthcare stocks, Tilray Inc (TLRY.TO) is down more than 6%, while Organigram Holdings (OGI.TO), Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) and Cronos Group (CRON.TO) are lower by 3.6 to 3.8%. Trillium Therapeutics (TRIL.TO) is declining 2.8%.

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