Stocks Stumble, Ending Streak

Stocks in Toronto tumbled off their once-lofty perch Thursday, weighed heavily by energy and gold issues.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index faltered 98.71 points to close Thursday at 17,916.20

The Canadian dollar dropped 0.01 cents to 79.18 cents U.S.

Energy took most of the bruising, as Tourmaline Oil dropped 82 cents, or 0.4%, to $20.09, while Enerplus docked 17 cents, or 3.7%, to $4.42.

Among gold stocks, NovaGold fell 29 cents, or 2.5%, to $11.39, while Sandstorm Gold slid 22 cents, or 2.5%, to $8.47.

In health-care, Aurora Cannabis lost 50 cents, or 3.4%, to $14.11, while Aphria dropped 48 cents, or 2.9%, to $16.02.

Utilities fought against the negatives, though, with Boralex gaining $1.52, or 2.9%, to $53.83, while Innergex acquired 88 cents, or 2.9%, to $31.18.

In the communications field, Cogeco Communications added $1.79, or 1.7%, to $104.97, while Rogers picked up 60 cents, or 1%, to $60.70.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported growth in new home prices slowed for the third consecutive month, rising 0.3% in December compared with November.

The agency also reports that despite the recent slowdown, new home prices were up 4.6% year over year in December.


The TSX Venture Exchange dropped 10.52 points, or 1.1%, to pause for lunch at 935.63.

All but two of the 12 TSX subgroups were in the red Thursday, as energy slid 1.7%, gold settled 1.3%, and health-care ailed 1.1%.

The two gainers were utilities, adding 0.6%, and communications, up 0.3%.


The NASDAQ Composite rose to another record on Thursday as investors bet on strong earnings from big tech companies next week.

The Dow Jones Industrials dipped 12.37 points to 31,176.01.

The S&P 500 eked higher 1.22 points to 3,853.07, eking out another fresh high.

The NASDAQ picked up 73.67 points to 13,530.92, as Apple shares popped 3.7%

Apple’s jump came after a top analyst from Morgan Stanley said she expects a record December quarter print for the tech giant. Optimism is rising that major technology companies will impress Wall Street when they hand in earnings reports next week. Apple has grabbed 7.7% and Facebook has risen 8.6%, this week ahead of their quarterly results, while Microsoft has gained 5.8%.

Major U.S. airline United fell 5.7% after posting its fourth straight quarterly loss. The carrier warned that sales would continue to suffer in the early part of 2021 as the pandemic drags on.

Thursday’s action came after a better-than-expected reading on jobless claims. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 900,000 for the week ended Jan. 16, lower than an estimate of 925,000 according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Still, some on Wall Street are optimistic that Biden’s plans to combat the pandemic will give the stock market a further boost through 2021.

Biden released details of his COVID plan on his first full day in office, including 10 executive orders and his intent to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up protective equipment production. Biden will seek to accelerate the rollout of vaccines by providing more local and state funding, creating more vaccination sites and launching a national education campaign.

Along with the COVID response plan released Thursday, investors are also watching eagerly if Biden can get his proposed $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief bill through Congress.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury stumbled, raising yields to 1.10% from Wednesday’s 1.08%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices slipped 29 cents to $53.02 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained three dollars to $1,869.50 U.S. an ounce.