Stocks Flat at Open on Virus Concerns

Equities in Canada’s largest centre barely moved as Monday’s session got underway, as a surge in coronavirus cases in China and rising restrictions across the globe triggered concerns around an economic recovery.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 14.35 points to kick off the week at 17,831.56.

The Canadian dollar eked up 0.05 cents to 78.64 cents U.S.

Potential buyers say the expansion of Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline assumes greater importance for the oil sector after the cancellation of rival Keystone XL reduced future options to carry crude.

National Bank of Canada raised the target price on Home Capital Group to $42.00 from $34.00. Home Capital shares gained 34 cents, or 1.1%, to $30.32.

Citigroup raised the price target on Cenovus Energy to $11.00 from $8.00. Cenovus shares docked a dime, or 1.3%, to $7.37.

Scotiabank raised the target price on Wajax Corp. to $25.00 from $22.00. Wajax shares galloped 69 cents, or 3.7%, to $19.30.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange gained 14.07 points, or 1.5%, however, coming out of the starting blocks Monday to 961.50

The 12 TSX subgroups were evenly divided between winners and losers, information technology stocks hoisting the former half, gaining 3.1%, health-care ahead 1.7%, and materials better by 0.6%.

The half-dozen laggards were weighed most by energy, tailing off 1.4%, financials, listing lower 0.6%, and real-estate, down 0.4%.

ON WALLSTREET

The S&P 500 rose slightly on Monday, while a jump in Big Tech pushed the NASDAQ Composite to a new record high as Wall Street remains bullish on the largest tech companies ahead of their earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrials blundered 178.02 points to 30,818.96

The S&P 500 recovered11.08 points to 3,852.55.

The NASDAQ roared higher 174.68 points, or 1.3%, on top of Friday’s all-time high to 13,717.75.

This coming week 13 Dow components and 111 S&P 500 companies are set to report earnings. Among the quarterly reports on deck include

those from Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Tesla, McDonald’s, Honeywell, Caterpillar and Boeing.

Apple shares popped 3.9% to about $144 a share before its quarterly report Wednesday after the bell. Tesla, which also reports Wednesday, was up 1.5% Microsoft and Facebook also both traded at least 1% higher.

Companies kicked off the earnings season on a strong note. Of the S&P 500 components that have already reported earnings, 73% have beaten on both sales and EPS, according to data from Bank of America. One expert said this is tracking similar to last quarter when the number of companies beating hit a record.

Wall Street is coming off a winning week amid the strength in the technology sector. The Dow registered its fifth positive week in six while the S&P 500 posted its third positive week in four. The NASDAQ advanced 4.2% last week for its best week since November and the fifth positive week in six as shares of Big Tech names pushed the index to a new all-time high.

The move higher came as President Joe Biden tries to push through a $1.9-trillion stimulus program that many congressional Republicans oppose. The fiscal aid includes direct checks to millions of Americans, aid to state and local governments, funding for Covid vaccines and testing, a boost to the minimum wage and enhanced unemployment benefits, among other things.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were higher, weighing on yields to 1.06% from at Friday’s 1.09%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices eked up six cents to $52.33 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices regained five dollars to $1,861.20 U.S. an ounce.

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