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Stocks Continue to Improve



Canada’s resource-heavy index climbed on Thursday, aided by gains in commodity-linked stocks, while a lower-than-expected retail sales data report in the United States revived some hopes of an early interest rate cut.

The TSX Composite popped 228.77 points, or 1.1%, to move into Thursday afternoon at 21,118.12.

The Canadian dollar strengthened 0.22 cents at 74.07 cents U.S.

Financials were up 0.9%, led by a jump of $2.11, or 6.9%, in Manulife Financial to $32.78, after the Canadian insurer topped estimates for fourth-quarter results.

Earnings momentum in Canada was poised to pick up pace with gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines and asset manager IGM Financial, among others, set to report their quarterly results on Thursday after the bell. Agnico grabbed $1.09, or 1.8%, to $62.43, while IGM gained 29 cents to $36.13.

Shares of gold miner Seabridge Gold climbed $2.32, or 18.2%, to $15.07, rebounding from a near four-year low.

MTY Food Group sank to the bottom of the index with a decline of $6.68, or 11.5%, to $51.66, after the restaurant operator reported its fourth-quarter results.

On the economic front, January housing starts totaled 223,600, compared to 249,000 in the prior-year month, the Canadian Real Estate Association said MLS sales rose 3.7% between December 2023 and January 2024, building on the 7.9% month-over-month increase recorded the month prior.

StatsCan said manufacturing sales fell 0.7% in December, mainly on lower sales of motor vehicles and chemical products.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 5.12 points to 553.35.

All but one of the 12 subgroups roared ahead, with energy jumping 3.4%, while gold soared 1.9%, and materials improved 1.7%.

Only consumer discretionary stocks missed the party, losing 0.1%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 rose slightly Thursday as Wall Street tried to claw back this week’s losses. However, gains were kept in check by weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales data.

The Dow Jones Industrials leaped 187.27 points midday to 38,611.54.

The much-broader index took on 8.87 points to 5,009.39.

The NASDAQ index lost 35.59 points to 15,823.56.

Earnings season continued to paint a muddled picture of corporate America. Tripadvisor jumped 5% after beating estimates on the top and bottom lines.

On the other hand, Cisco shares were down more than 1% after the tech company announced layoffs and weak forward sales projections.

Deere stock dropped 5% after the agricultural machinery manufacturer lowered guidance for its full-year net income guidance. Shares of Alphabet slid nearly 3%.

Investors received another update about the state of the U.S. economy on Thursday, with January retail sales plunging 0.8%, much more than the 0.3% decline economists polled by Dow Jones had expected. This raised some concern about the strength of the U.S. consumer under the weight of sticky inflation and high interest rates, and sent Treasury yields down.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury surged, lowering yields to 4.24% from Wednesday’s 4.27%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices climbed $1.70 to $78.34 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices jumped $7.50 to $2,011.80.



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