TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index finished on a near flat note Thursday, as U.S. stock markets were closed for their Thanksgiving holiday.
The S&P/TSX composite index scraped out 0.72 of a point to advance to 16,074.30.
Earlier in the day, the materials and energy sectors had helped push the Toronto market up modestly, as the health-care and consumer staples groups lost ground.
“The positive performance this morning was the result of the resource sector. Both energy and materials were stronger on the day,” said Candice Bangsund, vice-president and portfolio manager at Fiera Capital.
“In energy markets we’re seeing encouraging signs toward the rebalancing of the crude market. So we saw energy prices soar to a two-year high this week after a report that indicated a decline in U.S. stockpiles, while there’s also been a disruption in the Keystone pipeline that has helped to sort of boost that optimism that the market is going to find a better balance.”
In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.65 cents US, up 0.09 of a U.S. cent. That marked the loonie’s third straight day of gains.
Key drivers of the currency’s recent upswing are the weakening U.S. dollar and bullishness around the price of oil, which rose $1.19 at the closing of markets Wednesday.
Commodities markets were also closed for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.
On the Canadian marijuana front, Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s (TSX:ACB) stock was up about five per cent amid news that the Vancouver-headquartered pot producer intends to use its ownership of greenhouse design firm Larssen Ltd. to pressure other cannabis producers to enter partnerships that will further its aggressive growth plans.
In a news release, Aurora said Larssen is involved with more than 15 cannabis industry clients globally, including five Canadian licensed producers. Shares of Aurora gained 32 cents or about five per cent to close at $6.74 on Thursday.
In economic news, Statistics Canada reported retail sales in September were up 0.1 per cent to $49.1 billion for the month, boosted by sales at gasoline stations as prices climbed due to disruptions caused by hurricane Harvey.
Economists however said it appears consumer spending has cooled after a hot start to the year.
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