TSX Starts Year on Right Foot

Equities in Canada’s major market started 2020 with gains, with cannabis companies taking much of the spotlight Thursday morning.

The TSX Composite Index picked up 38.69 points to begin 2020 at 17,102.12. The Canadian dollar demurred 0.07 cents to 76.97 cents U.S.

Jefferies cut the price target on Canopy Growth to $21.00 from $25.00. Canopy shares dipped a dollar, or 3.7%, to $26.31.

Jefferies cut the price target on Hexo Corp to $1.90 from $3.80. Hexo shares lopped off two cents, or 1%, to $2.05.

Scotiabank raised the target price on TC Energy to $73.00 from $72.00. TC shares dropped 26 cents, or $68.90.

On the economic front, the IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index registered at 50.4 in December, down from 51.4 in the previous month.

This signaled the weakest overall manufacturing performance since August. The latest reading was only fractionally above the crucial 50 no-change mark.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange added 5.57 points to 583.11

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups made gains in the first hour, as gold progressed 0.7%, while materials and energy each sprouted 0.5%.

The five laggards were weighed most by health-care, off 1.9%, consumer staples, which slid 0.3%, and real-estate, down 0.2%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose to all-time highs on Thursday as the strong rally in 2019 was set to continue in the first trading day of the New Year.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 101.12 points to start out the year at 28,639.56

The S&P 500 gained 8.17 points to 3,238.44.

The NASDAQ bounced higher 44.54 points to 9,016.81

Chip stocks led the way on Wall Street. Advanced Micro Devices was up by 3.9% while Taiwan Semiconductor and Micron Technology both gained more than 2%. KLA leaped 2%, and Intel rose by 1.4%.

Semiconductor stocks surged 62% in 2019, their best one-year performance since 2003.

Tesla shares rose 1.5% after an analyst at Canaccord Genuity hiked his price target on the stock to $515 per share from $375 per share, noting 2020 will be an “electric year” for the company (honestly!)

Thursday’s gains come after Wall Street booked a strong 2019 performance on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 rising 28.9% in the year. That was the broad index’s biggest annual gain since 2013, when it surged 29.6%. The Dow, meanwhile, climbed 22.3% while the NASDAQ Composite skyrocketed more than 35%.

Sentiment was lifted Thursday after the People’s Bank of China lowered the amount of reserve cash the country’s banks must hold, which will put more money into the economy. This move will inject about 800 billion yuan in liquidity to the Chinese economy.

On the data front, weekly jobless claims came in at 222,000, slightly below estimates of 225,000.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury rose sharply, dropping yields to 1.85% from Tuesday’s 1.92%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices took off a penny to $61.05 U.S. a barrel. Gold prices hiked $9.30 at $1,532.40 U.S. an ounce.

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