A man watches financial numbers on a digital ticker tape at the TMX Group in Toronto's financial district on Friday, May 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

North American stock markets rise on U.S. stimulus hopes and continued Fed support

North American stock markets rise on U.S. stimulus hopes and continued Fed support

TORONTO — North American stock markets continued to grind higher Thursday on new hopes of a U.S. stimulus package and continued support from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

U.S. political leaders suggested they are getting close to a deal that, among other things, would provide payments as unemployment benefits are set to expire.

Investors also continued to respond a day after the central bank said it would continue bond buying.

“Yields are going to remain low, rates are going to remain low and so people that have cash on the sidelines are putting it back to work here,” said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc.

“The market just continues to defy gravity and keep drifting higher.”

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 85.52 points to 17,652.94. It reached an intraday high of 17,684.07 that’s just 1.6 per cent off February’s record high.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 148.83 points at 30,303.37.

The S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite closed at record highs after reaching intraday highs in earlier trading, with the S&P gaining 21.31 points at 3,722.48 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq up 106.56 points at 12,764.74.

Archibald said the move to cyclical and value sectors has taken a breather with the prospect for more lockdowns starting at Christmas amid rising COVID-19 infections and deaths.

U.S. jobless numbers worsened last week, rising to 885,000 from 862,000 the previous week in a trajectory that threatens the economic recovery.

That would have had a bigger impact on markets if the Congress wasn’t in the final throes of a stimulus package, said Archibald.

“I think it’s being relatively well offset by the fact that we should get some stimulus by Monday at the latest,” he said in an interview.

Cheques to unemployed Americans should be a good bridge until more people are vaccinated, a required step to help the economic environment get back to a more normal functioning.

First-quarter global GDP is expected to be challenged in an environment of more lockdowns.

“The work-from-home names, the technology stocks have continued to do quite well and I expect that will continue here for a little bit of time,” Archibald said.

Technology climbed 1.5 per cent with CGI Group Inc. gaining 2.6 per cent and Shopify Inc. up 2.2 per cent.

The materials sector increased 2.5 per cent Thursday on higher gold prices with shares of Oceanagold Corp. up nine per cent and Centerra Gold Inc. 6.8 per cent higher.

The February gold contract was up US$31.30 at US$1,890.40 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 4.25 cents at US$3.60 a pound.

Energy was also higher as crude prices continued to rise, pushing MEG Energy Corp. up 2.5 per cent.

The February crude oil contract was up 54 cents at US$48.54 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was down 4.1 cents at nearly US$2.64 per mmBTU.

That helped the Canadian dollar which traded for 78.63 cents US compared with 78.41 cents US on Wednesday.

Five sectors on the TSX were lower led by health care. It lost 1.8 per cent with shares of Aphria Inc. falling 6.2 per cent a day after a deal to unite with Tilray Inc. to create Canada’s largest cannabis producer by revenue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:APHA, TSX:MEG, TSX:GIB.A, TSX:SHOP, TSX:OGC, TSX:CG, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People lineup at a hotel for the homeless before the 8 p.m. COVID-19 curfew on Jan. 11, 2021, in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Legault nixes call for COVID-19 curfew exemption, saying it could used to avoid fines

Legault nixes call for COVID-19 curfew exemption, saying it could used to avoid fines

The body of 25-year-old Kyler Corriveau was discovered near Red Deer on Sunday. He was missing since Dec. 15. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. (Contrinuted photo).
RCMP are investigating the death of missing Red Deer man as a homicide

The body of Kyler Corriveau was discovered on Sunday

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 456 new cases of COVID-19 over Tuesday afternoon. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

Community Futures Central Alberta, in partnership with the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN), is behind the SMARTstart initiative for budding entrepreneurs.
New program aimed at helping entrepreneurs succeed

Program offers mentorship, business advice and networking opportunities

A Red Deer man, who has been declared a dangerous offender, lost his appeal of an aggravated assault conviction from 2017. Advocate file photo
Red Deer man who chomped on remand centre inmate’s ear loses aggravated assault appeal

Inmate lost part of his ear in attack at Red Deer Remand Centre in August 2017

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

FILE - John Mulaney arrives at night one of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. A file obtained by The Associated Press shows the U.S. Secret Service investigated John Mulaney, but found no wrongdoing in a joke the comedian made on “Saturday Night Live” in February 2020. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
File details investigation into John Mulaney ‘SNL’ monologue

File details investigation into John Mulaney ‘SNL’ monologue

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, file photo, Tom Hanks arrives at the People's Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
From Gaga to Garth, Miranda to Moreno: Celebs join inaugural

Like so much this past year, the inaugural celebration will be like… Continue reading

A Honduran migrant poses for a photo at a road block manned by Guatemalan soldiers and police, on the highway in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Some migrants threw rocks while authorities launched tear gas and pushed the migrants with their riot shields back down the highway. (AP Photo/Sandra Sebastian)
Large migrant caravan dissolves in Guatemala

Large migrant caravan dissolves in Guatemala

FILE - In this May 2, 2020, file photo, Erika Bermudez becomes emotional as she leans over the grave of her mother, Eudiana Smith, at Bayview Cemetery in Jersey City, N.J., Bermudez was not allowed to approach the gravesite until cemetery workers had buried her mother, who died of COVID-19. Other members of the family and friends stayed in their cars. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
‘Shameful’: US virus deaths top 400K as Trump leaves office

‘Shameful’: US virus deaths top 400K as Trump leaves office

Riot shields are stacked at the ready as National Guard troops reinforce the security zone on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
2 Guard members made extremist statements about inauguration

2 Guard members made extremist statements about inauguration

In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from the Senate floor to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Now that the House has impeached President Donald Trump for the second time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must figure out the best strategy for arguing the case before the Senate. Senate rules say the trial must start soon after the chamber receives the article of impeachment, which cites “incitement of insurrection” after an angry mob of Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol last week. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
McConnell: Trump ‘provoked’ Capitol siege, mob was fed lies

McConnell: Trump ‘provoked’ Capitol siege, mob was fed lies

Biden marks nation’s Covid grief before inauguration pomp

Biden marks nation’s Covid grief before inauguration pomp

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

Most Read