Stocks staged a comeback of sorts in Toronto, amid relief the Bank of Canada held off on continuing its recent spate of interest rate hikes.
The TSX gained 70.99 points to finish Wednesday at 20,346.53
The Canadian dollar eased off 0.23 cents to 72.49 cents U.S.
Tech stocks surged, Nuvei Corporation climbing $5.30 or 11.8%, to $50.30, while BlackBerry acquired 19 cents, or 4%, to $5.00.
In utilities, Boralex Corp. grabbed 65 cents, or 1.7%, to $38.12, while Innergex Renewable added 23 cents, or 1.6%, to $15.00.
Among industrials, Cargojet hiked $5.43, or 5%, to $113.42, while Canadian National Railways jumped $2.57, or 1.6%, to $162.45.
The central bank held its target for the overnight rate at 4.5%, with the Bank Rate at 4.75% and the deposit rate at 4.5%.
Among health-care stocks, Cronos Group retreated 15 cents, or 5.3%, to $2.68, while Bellus Health docked 36 cents, or 3.3%, to $10.54.
Consumer stocks fared badly, too, as BRP Inc. lost $1.61, or 1.4%, to $116.73, while Dollarama handed back 98 cents, or 1.3%, to $76.77.
Premium Brands Holdings fell $1.11, or 1.1%, to $97.25, while Maple Leaf Foods tailed off 17 cents to $27.95.
Elsewhere in the economic docket, Statistics Canada reported that, in January, Canada’s merchandise exports increased 4.2%, while imports were up 3.1%. As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the world widened from a revised $1.2 billion in December 2022 to $1.9 billion in January 2023.
The TSX Venture Exchange shed 1.58 points to 625.23.
Seven of the 12 TSX subgroups were lower on the day, with health-care skidding 1%, consumer discretionary stocks down 0.4%, and consumer staples off 0.2%.
The five gainers were led by information technology, up 2.4%, utilities, better by 0.7%, and industrials, ahead 0.5%.
The Dow Jones Industrials finished slightly lower Wednesday as the market fought to overcome Tuesday’s selloff, spurred by comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinting at higher interest rates for longer.
The 30-stock index fell back 58.06 points to close at 32,798.40.
The S&P 500 recovered 5.64 points to 3,992.09.
The NASDAQ Composite gained 45.67 points to 11,576.
While Powell emphasized during his testimonies that no decision’s been made about the March meeting, traders are betting on a bigger-than-expected hike. More than 75% are calling for a 50 basis point increase,
Stocks briefly took a slight leg lower after data showed job openings fall less than expected in January. A stronger-than-expected February private payrolls report on Wednesday also suggested that the economy is standing strong despite the Fed’s hiking campaign, adding to investor concern that bigger rate increase may be ahead. It precedes Friday’s February jobs data after January’s blockbuster report.
Job openings fell in January but remained elevated and still outnumber available workers by a nearly two-to-one margin, the U.S. Labor Department reported Wednesday.
Available positions totaled 10.824 million for the month, a decline of about 410,000 but still above estimates for 10.58 million.
Stocks are coming off a down session after comments from Powell’s Senate testimony cautioned lawmakers that the central bank’s terminal rate will likely be higher than previously anticipated due to stubbornly high economic data in recent weeks.
Prices for the 10-year Treasury fell, raising yields to 3.98% from Tuesday’s 3.97%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices gained $1.06 to $76.52 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices slid $1.20 to $1,818.80 U.S. an ounce.