Technology, cannabis leads S&P/TSX composite to new highs to end positive week

·3 min read

TORONTO — Canada's main stock index continued its record-setting ways, ending a volatile week higher on a broad-based rally led by cannabis stocks and a large gain by the country's most valuable company, Shopify Inc.

"The Canadian market up is probably a nice sign to show that there's a lot more to this market and as much as we had some wobbles earlier in the week it seems like it's a lot of cash on the sidelines coming back into it," said Greg Taylor, chief investment officer of Purpose Investments.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 186.55 points another record close of 21,768.53, after hitting an intraday high of 21,773.05.

Despite Wednesday's losses prompted by U.S. inflation reaching its highest level in more than 30 years in October, the Toronto market was up 1.5 per cent for the week, 3.5 per cent in November and 24.9 per cent year-to-date.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rpse 179.08 points at 36,100.31. The S&P 500 index was up 33.58 points at 4,682.85, while the Nasdaq composite was up 156.68 points at 15,860.96.

The technology sector increased four per cent Friday led by an 11.6 per cent rise in shares of Ottawa-based Shopify.

The gain stems from positive headlines from the singles day sales in China, that showed there's a lot of momentum for online shopping. Taylor said.

Taylor added that a U.S. buy-now, pay-later firm said there's a lot of demand on Shopify's network.

"I think this is pretty positive for Canada and also just reassuring for the tech space for some early indications of Christmas sales," he said in an interview.

The health care sector rose 4.8 per cent as investors latched on to hopes of legislation coming soon in the U.S. to legalize cannabis. Canopy Growth Corp. surged 12.8 per cent while Aurora Cannabis Inc. was up 12.5 per cent.

The Biden administration's plans to legalize recreational pot seems to have won support from Republicans who recently said they are ready to support such a move, Taylor said.

Financials and materials were also higher.

Materials was helped by the continuing rise in gold prices as investors sought to hedge against inflation. Canadian consumer price index numbers will be released next week.

The December gold contract was up US$4.60 at US$1,868.50 an ounce and the September copper contract was up five cents at US$4.45 a pound.

The Canadian dollar traded for 79.59 cents US compared with 79.46 cents US on Thursday.

Energy was the biggest laggard on the day, losing ground on lower crude oil and natural gas prices.

The September crude oil contract was down 80 cents at US$80.79 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was down 35.8 cents at US$4.79 per mmBTU.

Shares of MEG Energy Corp. fell 5.5 per cent while Arc Resources Ltd. were 2.4 per cent lower.

Taylor said crude prices slumped on fears that the White House may release supply from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserves in a bid to reduce pump prices.

Nonetheless, he said it's reassuring that oil stayed around US$80 a barrel given that it was just US$41.12 a year ago.

"That's still a huge amount, so that's why I think we're seeing the oil companies holding in OK."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SHOP, TSX:MEG, TSX:ARX, TSX:ACB, TSX:WEED, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

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