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The TSX hit a record high today as energy stocks were boosted by higher oil prices. The energy index jumped more than 2 per cent in early trading with oil prices touching multi-year highs.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index is up by 0.37 per cent to 21,295.08 as of 2:16 pm ET; this on a day when 6 of 11 sectors showed gains, 19 companies posted new 52-week highs and new lows were nowhere to be found.

Gains were capped, however, by rising bets that the Bank of Canada (BoC) may start tightening monetary policy sooner than expected. It faces increasing pressure to raise interest rates ahead of schedule when it meets on Wednesday, amid rising inflation and a recovering jobs market.

A rate hike, the first since October 2018, would represent a shift in Governor Tiff Macklem’s insistence on transitory inflation, demonstrating that the economy has finally found its bearings in spite of lingering supply chain bottlenecks and an abundance of Canadian citizens and small businesses struggling to support themselves.

The fact that inflation has remained above the BoC’s target range for the past sixth months is a strong signal that, broadly speaking, the economy can now fend for itself without further accommodative interventions.

That said, the government is well aware that macro forecasts do not tell the full story of the havoc the COVID pandemic has wreaked. Yesterday, CERB was officially replaced by the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, a weekly C$300 payment for those whose professions remain hindered by lockdowns. Add to that the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which will provide rent and wage subsidies for businesses that have suffered extreme revenue losses. While these programs do little more than keep heads above water, they represent lifelines until conditions improve and better opportunities present themselves.

With support from the BoC and programs in place for those in hardship, the end to preventive COVID measures are slowly coming into view. Ontario just announced the tentative date of March 28, 2022, to lift all such measures, including masks and proof of vaccination, if diminishing infection trends continue. As of today, restaurants, gyms, bars, event spaces and places of worship may lift capacity limits if they so choose.

Market movers

Canadian investors have been witnessing a real-life rendition of Succession as the Rogers family battles for control of the telecom giant’s Board of Directors. Edward Rogers was named Chairman in a snap meeting on Sunday, while his mother and sisters have lambasted him in the media for placing his own interests before those of employees and shareholders. The matter will soon go before the British Columbia Supreme Court for a final resolution.

Companies making their own waves with Market Herald readers over the past few days include:

Kraken Robotics, who announced a Robotics as a Service contract with the Royal Canadian Navy.

Cerrado Gold, who recently set a record for gold production at Minera Don Nicolas.

Datametrex, whose telehealth app is now in closed beta testing.

And finally, Sprout AI, whose stock price dropped over 50 per cent last week amid a potential influx of short-sellers.

It’s also been a promising few days for companies who have been able to upsize their financing rounds. They include:

Magna Mining, an exploration and development company focused on projects in the Sudbury region of Ontario.

LQwD, a fintech company looking to raise $7 million dollars through a public offering.

And mining company Blackrock Silver, also seeking to raise $7 million in a private placement.

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