Stocks Positive as Fed Expected to Keep Rates Low

Equities in Canada’s biggest centre rose on Wednesday, boosted by higher oil prices, while investors expected the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low when it announces its policy decision later during the session.

The TSX gained 44.37 points to greet noon at 16,475.64.

The Canadian dollar squeezed higher 0.015 cents to 75.95 cents U.S.

The largest percentage gainers on the TSX were Cargojet, up $7.18, or 3.9%, to $189.41, and PrairieSky Royalty, which jumped 48 cents, or 5.7%, to $8.92.

Interfor fell 44 cents, or 2.6%, the most on the TSX, to $16.67, followed by Altus Group that lost 86 cents, or 1.6%, to $53.00 after it said

Chief Executive Officer Robert Courteau would resign.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada’s consumer price index rose 0.1% on a year-over-year basis in August, matching the increase in July. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.1% in August, up from a 0.1% decline in July.

Also, foreigners reduced their holdings of Canadian securities by $8.5 billion in July. Meanwhile, Canadian investors acquired $1.3 billion of foreign securities, down considerably from a $10.6 billion investment in June.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange added 6.01 points to 747.92.

Eight of the 12 TSX subgroups were higher by noon, with energy surging 3%, health-care ahead 2.4%, and real-estate better by 1.1%.

The four laggards were weighed most by consumer discretionary, down 1.2%, information technology, sliding 1.1%, and consumer staples, off 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were both higher on Wednesday as traders awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest decision on monetary policy.

The Dow Jones Industrials popped 230.88 points to 28,226.48.

The S&P 500 took on 16.28 points to 3,417.81.

The NASDAQ inched up 2.16 points to 11,192.49, as shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet and Microsoft were all under pressure.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 jumped to their session highs after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he was optimistic about a coronavirus stimulus deal. President Donald Trump also signaled in a tweet he would back a bigger package.

Goldman Sachs was among the best-performing Dow components, jumping more than 2%. Walgreens Boots Alliance advanced 3.2%. IBM and Travelers Cos were both up more than 2%. FedEx released a blowout quarter with earnings well above analyst estimates, fueled by the e-commerce boom, sending the stock up more than 5%.

The Federal Open Market Committee will provide its quarterly update on its estimates for GDP, unemployment and inflation. The central bank could provide clearer guidance on what it will take to raise rates in the future. The Fed is also expected to keep rates unchanged.

Wednesday marks the Fed’s first decision since Chairman Jerome Powell unveiled a policy shift toward greater tolerance of inflation, effectively pledging to keep interest rates low for longer. Investors widely expect the central bank to maintain its downbeat stance on the economy. This will also be the last meeting before the U.S. presidential election.

In corporate news, one of the hottest initial public offerings of 2020 will open for trading on Wednesday. Data storage software company Snowflake is priced at 30 times forward revenue and even got a rare vote of confidence from Berkshire Hathaway. Snowflake expects to go public at a share price between $100 and $110, according to an updated S-1 filing from Monday.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were higher, weighing yields to 0.67% from Tuesday’s 0.68%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices increased $1.53 to $39.81 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained $11.00 to $1,977.20 U.S. an ounce.