The Toronto Stock Exchange’s benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index added 32.08 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 13,390.19 points. Five of the TSX index’s eight main sub-sectors were lower.

Stock market
stock market

After a market close on Good Friday, oil prices dropped Monday as the trading was relatively light. The Texas sweet light crude for May delivery moved down 7 cents to settle at 39.39 dollars a barrel, while Brent crude for May delivery decreased 17 cents to close at 40.27 dollars a barrel.

TSX energy and mining groups went back 0.38 percent and 0.87 percent respectively. Canadian Natural Resources fell 0.28 percent to 35.12 Canadian dollars (26.65 U.S. dollars) per share, Encana Corporation dropped 2.68 percent to 7.64 Canadian dollars, while Niko Resources Ltd. slumped 14.75 percent to 0.26 Canadian dollar.

Among declining miners, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. lost 2.86 percent to 6.79 Canadian dollars, Western Lithium USA Corporation was down 4.04 percent to 0.475 Canadian dollar, while Lake Shore Gold Corp. shed 2.91 percent to 2.00 Canadian dollars.

Health care was down 1.71 percent, but on some unusual move, Acerus Pharmaceuticals Corporation popped 84.21 percent to 0.175 Canadian dollar, molecular diagnostics company GeneNews Limited surged 35.0 percent to 0.135 Canadian dollar.

Financial stocks went up slightly, as Bank of Nova Scotia gained 0.79 percent to 62.01 Canadian dollars, Toronto-Dominion Bank added 0.76 percent to 55.73 Canadian dollars, while Manulife Financial Corporation advanced 1.25 percent to 18.67 Canadian dollars.

The consumer discretionary sector gained, with discount chain Dollarama up 1.76 percent at 80.84 Canadian dollars, fast food chain Restaurant Brands International adding 1.28 percent to 50.47 Canadian dollars, and retailer Canadian Tire rising 0.57 percent to 132.96 Canadian dollars.

The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as economic data weighed on the greenback, while Canada’s finance minister was optimistic that deficit spending will spur higher domestic economic growth.

The U.S. dollar hit session lows against a basket of major currencies after a deep downward revision to U.S. consumer spending for January.

Canada’s Liberal government believes the federal budget will be balanced in “about” five years due to higher growth spurred by deficit spending, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Sunday.

The government gave no target date for eliminating the deficit when it unveiled the budget last week. The stimulus budget, combined with a modest recovery in oil and non-commodity exports, makes it likely the Bank of Canada’s next move will be an interest rate hike rather than a cut.

However, Canada’s top business leaders are warning the plunge in value of the country’s currency could turn companies into sitting ducks for foreign buyers, and they want to see the Bank of Canada do something about it.

The Canadian dollar traded higher at 0.7587 U.S. dollar, compared with Thursday’s closing rate of 0.7553 U.S. dollar.

Source: Xinhua

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