TSX Fades to End March, Q1

(CORRECTS DIRECTION OF TSX AT END OF SESSION)

Stocks in Toronto ended March and 2021’s first quarter slightly on the downside, with weakness in the communications field countering gains in health-care

The TSX sank 4.89 points to conclude Wednesday at 18,700.67. For the first quarter, the index leaped 1,267 points, or 7.27{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}.

The Canadian dollar was boosted 0.33 cents at 79.56 cents U.S.

Health-care proved the mightiest of the gainers Wednesday, with Trillium Therapeutics surging 55 cents, or 4.2{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $13.54, which Aurinia Pharmaceuticals popped 52 cents, or 3.3{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $16.37.

Tech stocks also shone, with Shopify leaping $75.32, or 5.7{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $1,399.88, while Absolute Software took on 88 cents, or 5.3{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $17.46.

Among golds, Alamos Gold improved 32 cents, or 3.4{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $9.83, while Eldorado Gold picked up 42 cents, or 3.2{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $13.60.

On the other hand, Rogers led communications down, sagging $1.53, or 2.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $58.18, while Quebecor dropped 85 cents, or 2.5{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $33.78.

Financials also put the brakes on, with Laurentian Bank doffing $1.12, or 2.7{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $40.05, while Brookfield Asset Management docked $1.37, or 2.4{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $55.92.

In the energy sector, Cenovus Energy slid 15 cents, or 1.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $9.46, while Imperial Oil faded 53 cents, or 1.7{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to $30.53.

On the economic sheet, Statistics Canada’s industrial product price index In February, the Industrial Product Price Index rose 2.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, the largest monthly increase in the index in over 40 years, since January 1980’s advance of 3.8{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}.

The Raw Materials Price Index was up 6.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} month over month in February, the biggest gain since May 2020’s hike of 15.0{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}.

Real gross domestic product rose 0.7{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} in January, following 0.1{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} growth in December.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange sprang back up 23.48 points, or 2.5{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to 952.55. The exchange has gained 77 points, or 8.82{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, since the end of 2020.

Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were positive on the day, with health-care better by 2{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, information technology picking up 1.8{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, and gold brighter 1.7{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}.

The five laggards were weighed most by communications, skidding 1.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, financials, falling 0.8{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, and energy, off 0.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, closing out March and the first quarter on a high note as investors rotated back into high-growth tech while weighing President Joe Biden’s big infrastructure spending plan.

The Dow Jones Industrials stumbled 85.41 points to 32,981.55.

The S&P 500 recovered 14.34 points, to 3,972.89.

The NASDAQ Composite recouped 201.48 points, or 1.5{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, to 13,246.87, as the jump in bond yields eased. Apple, Microsoft and Facebook all gained at least 1.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}. Tesla popped more than 5{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}.

The Dow has advanced 6.6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} and the S&P 500 is up 4.3{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, month to date, on pace for their fourth positive month in five. For the quarter, the blue-chip Dow has added 7.8{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, and the S&P 500 has risen 5.8{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, on track for their fourth positive quarter in a row.

The NASDAQ was up 0.4{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} in March, running its winning streak to five month. For the quarter, it gained 2.8{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}.

Biden will unveil a more-than-$2-trillion package in infrastructure spending on Wednesday. The plan would raise the corporate tax rate to 28{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} to fund it, an administration official told reporters Tuesday night.

The White House said the tax hike, combined with measures designed to stop offshoring of profits, would fund the infrastructure plan within 15 years.

Private payrolls in March expanded at the fastest pace since September 2020 with companies adding 517,000 workers for the month, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP. It was a healthy spike from the 176,000 in February though just below the 525,000 Dow Jones estimate.

Investors await the key March jobs report on Friday to assess the state of the labor-market recovery. Economists expect 630,000 jobs were added in March, and the unemployment rate fell to 6{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} from 6.2{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}, according to Dow Jones.

The stock market will be closed for the Good Friday holiday.

Prices for 10-Year Treasurys sagged, raising yields to 1.74{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29} from Tuesday’s 1.71{fde03d2f1c3ee029f0b86461a3e50e9d647f04138057fbe6f119870871f02d29}. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices doffed $1.20 to $59.35 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $22.30 to $1,708.30.

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