TSX Ends Higher; Technology, Industrials Shares Rally

The Canadian stock market ended on a firm note on Friday, led by gains in information technology, industrials and consumer staples sections.

Upbeat earnings updates and a report suggesting Canada's retail sales likely surged higher in June helped keep investor sentiment positive. Investors largely shrugged off concerns about a surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus in several parts across the globe.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended up by 90.91 points or 0.45% at 20,188.43, after climbing to a high of 20,203.57. The index gained 1.02% in the week.

Among the top movers in the information technology section, Shopify Inc (SHOP.TO) climbed 3.25%, Lightspeed Pos (LSPD.TO) and Alithya Group (ALYA.TO) both ended higher by about 2.65% and CGI Group Inc (GIB.A.TO) gained 1.6%. Absolute Software (ABST.TO), Nuvei Corporation (NVEI.TO) and Celestica Inc (CLS.TO) advanced by about 1%.

In the industrials sector, Westshore Terminals Investment Corp (WTE.TO) soared 28.4%. The company announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Westshore Terminals Ltd. Partnership, has executed an agreement with BHP Canada Inc., a subsidiary of BHP Group, to provide port services to BHP's proposed Jansen Potash Mine in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Aecon Group Inc (ARE.TO) ended nearly 11% up riding on buoyant second-quarter earnings. The company announced that it posted a net income of $17.6 million for the second quarter, as against net loss of $6.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Gfl International (GFL.TO), Snc-Lavalin (SNC.TO) and Cargojet (CJT.TO) gained 2 to 2.4%. Air Canada (AC.TO) edged up 0.2% after reporting lower net loss for the second quarter. The company reported net loss of $1.17 billion or $3.31 per diluted share in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $1.75 billion or $6.44 per share a year earlier.

Consumer staples shares Sunopta Inc (SOY.TO), Weston George (WN.TO), Loblaw (L.TO), Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD.B.TO), Empire Co. (EMP.A.TO), Premium Brands Holdings (PBH.TO) and Primo Water Corporation (PRMW.TO) gained 1 to 1.6%.

Magna International Inc (MG.TO) shares declined nearly 5%. The company announced on Thursday that it signed a deal valued at about $3.8 billion to buy automotive technology firm Veoneer Inc.

A preliminary estimate from Statistics Canada said retail sales in the country are set to grow 4.4% in June as COVID-19 restrictions eased, support sentiment. Meanwhile, in May retail sales were down 2.1% month-on-month in May, less than market forecasts of a 3% decline.

Retail Sales increased 24.6% in May of 2021 over the same month in the previous year. Retail sales excluding autos in Canada were down 2% month-on-month in May, following a 7.2% drop in April.

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