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TSX Index Extends Recent Rally

Canada’s main stock index extended its rally for a third consecutive day on Friday after beginning the week at its lowest level this year, as Wall Street idled on the latest “Trumpcare” news. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index inched forward 9.06 points to 15,442.67, with consumer discretionary and utilities sectors leading advancers. In New York, stock indices were mixed, with little movement in either direction. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 59.86 points to 20,596.72, the S&P 500 index fell 1.98 points to 2,343.98, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 11.05 points to 5,828.74.
The markets continued to tread water despite “some pretty meaningful news,” said Stephen Lingard, senior vice president and portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Solutions. U.S. President Donald Trump announced the presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline has been granted. The news came more than eight years after the initial application and after his predecessor Barack Obama rejected the project. In currencies, the Canadian dollar fell 0.16 of a U.S. cent to US74.74¢. A Statistics Canada report released Friday showed the country’s annual pace of inflation ticked lower last month. In February, the consumer price index rose 2.0% on a year-over-year basis compared with a 2.1% increase in January.  In commodities, the May crude contract advanced US27¢ to US$47.97 per barrel and the April gold contract gained US$1.30 to US$1,248.50. April natural gas contracts rose US2.5¢ to about US$3.08 per mmBTU and May copper contracts shed about US1.4¢ to US$2.63.

 

Inflation Ticked Lower in February 

The annual pace of inflation in Canada ticked lower in February as higher prices for gasoline were offset in part by lower costs for fresh fruit and vegetables. Statistics Canada said Friday that the consumer price index rose 2% on a year-over-year basis in February, compared with a 2.1% increase in January. Economists had expected it rise 2.1% in February as well. Prices were higher in seven of the eight major components, with food the only one to decline. Excluding gasoline, the February consumer price index was up 1.3% compared with a year ago following a 1.5% in January. Transportation costs gained 6.6% compared with a year ago, boosted by a 23.1% rise in gasoline _ which was at an unusually low level in early 2016. Shelter costs rose 2.2%. Food costs fell 2.3% as prices for food bought from stores fell 4.1%. Prices for food bought from restaurants rose 2.3% but fresh vegetables dropped 14.0% and fresh fruit slipped 13.3%, partly deflecting a spike in prices last winter.

The annual pace of inflation slowed in seven provinces on a year-over-year basis in February while Ontario and B.C. both held steady at 2.3%. Manitoba was the only province to show an increase in the annual pace of inflation as it increased to 2.3% compared with 2.1% in January. Statistics Canada said the Bank of Canada’s three preferred measures for core inflation saw year-over-year increases last month of 1.3%, 1.9% and 1.6%.

 

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