Economy & Markets

U.S. stock markets also edged higher as the Nasdaq hit a new high

By Canadian Press |
Source: The Canadian Press

The base metals, industrials and consumer discretionary sectors lifted the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) on Thursday while the Nasdaq hit at an all-time high.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 72.68 points to 15,625.56, led by base metals stocks, which were up by 1.89%.

The industrials and consumer discretionary sectors of the TSX were both up 0.96%, while the health-care sector, down 0.87%, dropped the most.

The Canadian dollar was US$74.23¢ US, up 0.05 of a cent from Wednesday's close.

In New York, markets regained Wednesday's losses, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 174.22 points to 20,578.71 while the S&P 500 composited index added 17.67 points to 2,355.84. The Nasdaq composite index climbed 53.75 points to 5,916.78 — a new record.

Political uncertainty in the world — the upcoming elections in France and the recent attacks in Syria, for example — has made investors jittery and left the stock market more volatile than usual, says Michael Currie, vice president and investment advisor with TD Wealth Private Investment Advice.

"It's been bouncing up and down for a few days now," Currie says.

Corporate earnings have helped the markets, with positive results so far on both sides of the border.

Shares of CP Rail were up 2.59%, or $5.24, to $207.26 after the company reported after markets closed Wednesday that revenue increased 1% in the latest quarter due to higher volumes of potash, metals, minerals and grain. The company's results were slightly ahead of analyst expectations.

Home Capital Group Inc. (HCG), however, saw its stock plunge by 20.7%, or $4.61, to $17.71, a day after the Ontario Securities Commission alleged that the company's two former CEOs and the current chief financial officer broke securities law in how they handled a scandal involving falsified loan applications.

The securities watchdog issued a notice of hearing and a statement of allegations naming the company and CEOs Gerald Soloway and Martin Reid. It also named Robert Morton, who is currently the chief financial officer of the Toronto-based mortgage lender.

HCG has said the allegations are without merit and vowed to defend itself.

Read: OSC accuses Home Capital, execs of misleading disclosure

In commodities, the June crude oil contract slipped by US14¢ to US$50.71 a barrel in spite of recent news that OPEC will likely extend its output cut into the second half of the year.

"Oil's been on a nice run but it's pulled back recently," Currie says. "It's still on an up trend even though it's pulled back, so that's good for the Canadian market at least."

The May natural gas contract was down by US3¢ at US$3.16 per mmBTU while the June gold contract added US40¢ at US$1,283.80 an ounce. The May copper contract was up by almost US1¢ at US$2.54 a pound.