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The TSX outperformed Wall Street on Thursday on gains in energy and gold mining shares.

It closed off the day at its highest level since February 9th.

This morning was a different story, as drops in mining and technology firms sent the TSX south in late-morning trade.

The energy sector gained 0.7 per cent as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) added 1 per cent per barrel and Brent added 1.1 per cent.

The materials sector lost just over 2 per cent on gold weakness as Putin mentioned progress in talks with Ukraine and Canada smashed February jobs expectations.

On the Russian front, President Biden is seeking to end normal trade relations with the bellicose nation, which would allow for stiff import tariffs. He needs congressional support to make the change official. The U.S. has since initiated a ban on Russian vodka, caviar and luxury goods.

The E.U. is following suit as it seeks to remove Russia’s most-favored nation status with Canada already having withdrawn the designation.

Daily headlines related to the conflict are stoking inflation fears above and beyond slower-than-expected growth due to the pandemic. This has resulted in extreme bouts of volatility as investors shift their portfolios in line with rate hike expectations.

The U.S. Fed is likely to raise rates next week, while yesterday, the European Central Bank announced an accelerated exit from economic stimulus.

In terms of Canadian jobs, the country added 336,600 in February, which caused the unemployment rate to fall to 5.5 per cent, down from 6.5 per cent in January, the first drop below the pre-pandemic level.

Hourly wages have increased 3.1 per cent YoY compared to 5.1 per cent inflation in January. February inflation data are due next week.

The consensus is that the Bank of Canada will institute six more rate hikes this year after its 0.25 per cent bump earlier this month.

While monetary policy changes trickle down to Canadian citizens, they must for the moment grapple with elevating food, housing and fuel prices. Average gas prices across the country clocked in at C$1.87 per litre yesterday, up from C$1.66 last week.

Drivers can expect Wednesday’s nearly 11-per-cent drop in the price of WTI to result in slower increases at the pump next week. Further relief depends on diplomatic efforts between Russia and Ukraine, OPEC+’s willingness to accept that oil shortages aren’t exclusively geopolitically related, as well as Iranian nuclear negotiations, which stalled in the latest round of talks in Vienna.

The commodity-heavy TSX closed down by 0.56 per cent, falling just short of three straight weeks of gains while remaining flat over the last month, which compares favorably to a loss of 4 per cent in the U.S., 9 per cent in Europe and Japan, and just over 11 per cent in Emerging Markets.

Canadian bond yields have again risen sharply over the past week in reverse correlation with global markets, in spite of the TSX being somewhat spared from recent whipsaws. Though fixed income is primed to drop in price as interest rates rise, its status as a safe haven is still very much intact.

Market movers

Over the latter part of the week, our readers have honed in on developments in oil, cannabis and biotech with the potential to fortify long-term earnings power:

Acceleware announced that heating has commenced at its commercial-scale RF XL pilot project in Alberta, which seeks to produce heavy oil and bitumen through electrification.

Pure Extracts received an initial purchase order for its cannabis vape cartridges from Cannabis NB.

Finally, Ceapro signed an exclusive agreement with Symrise to supply and distribute its active ingredients to major international cosmetics companies.

New capital raise announcements include First Uranium and Bunker Hill.

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