Stocks in Canada’s largest centre played with the breakeven level, settling slightly into the red, amid weakness in communication and energy issues.

The TSX Composite eked down 4.03 points to end the day at 19,969.19.

The Canadian dollar eked ahead 0.04 cents at 73.62 cents U.S.

Canadian stocks have recovered sharply from their October lows on hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks may temper their aggressive rate-hike stance on signs inflation may have peaked.

In consumer staples, George Weston strengthened $5.30, or 3.1%, to $117.60, while Alimentation Couche-Tard hiked $1.62, or 2.7%, to $62.51.

In consumer discretionary issues, Canada Goose flew $1.50, or 2.5%, to $60.74, while MTY Food gained $1.50, or 2.5%, to $60.74.

Industrials had a good day, too, as Mullen Group soared 59 cents, or 4%, to $15.26, while Brookfield Business Partners captured 69 cents, or 2.9%, to $24.43.

Communication stocks went in reverse, as Corus Entertainment lost eight cents, or 3.6%, to $2.15, while Rogers docked $1.07, or 1.7%, to $60.94.

In energy concerns, Athabasca Oil gave up 15 cents, or 6.2%, to $2.29, while Tamarack Valley Energy sank 20 cents, or 4.3%, to $4.43.

Gold dulled in price, as Barrick Gold subtracted 22 cents, or 1%, to $22.81, while Iamgold dropped four cents, or 1.4%, to $2.86.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange edged down 2.2 points to 581.74.

Seven of the 12 subgroups finished the session in the pit, with communications sliding 0.9%, energy off by 0.7%, and gold duller in price by 0.6%.

The five gainers were led by consumer staples, up 1.7%, consumer discretionary stocks, ahead 1.2%, and industrials stronger by 0.7%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks rose Thursday as the S&P 500 broke its longest losing streak since October and Wall Street evaluated the odds of a recession ahead.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 183.56 points to 33,781.48

The S&P 500 gathered 29.59 points to 3,963.51

The NASDAQ recovered 123.45 points, or 1.1%, to 11,082.

Despite Thursday’s gains, stocks are on pace for a losing week, with the Dow down 1.9%. The S&P is slated to finish lower by 2.7%, while NASDAQ is projected to fall 3.3%.

Semiconductor and technology stocks that have struggled during this year’s selloff also gained during Thursday’s session, with Nvidia down 6.5% and Amazon adding 2.1%. Activision Blizzard fell as the FTC sued to block its acquisition by Microsoft. GameStop rose 11% after posting earnings.

Investor attention remains laser-focused on next week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to issue a 50-basis-point interest rate hike. It’s a smaller increase than the prior four rate hikes, but may do little to alleviate recession fears as the Fed attempt to squash surging prices. Next week’s November consumer price index should also provide more clarity on the direction of inflation.

Jobless claims showed a slight bounce higher last week to 230,000, which was exactly in line with the Dow Jones estimate, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury fell, raising yields to 3.49% from Wednesday’s 3.42%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices moved downward again 31 cents to $71.70 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices picked up $2.50 to $1,800.50 U.S. an ounce.

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