Toronto stock market pushed higher by enthusiasm for TFI and BlackBerry

TORONTO — Enthusiasm for TFI International Inc. and BlackBerry Ltd. offset some investor concerns to push Canada's main stock index higher to start the week.

The Montreal-based trucking firm and Waterloo, Ont., technology company each saw their shares spike in Monday trading.

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TFI shares gained more than 32 per cent to reach a record high after it announced an US$800 million deal to purchase UPS Freight that would expand its North American smaller truck business.

BlackBerry shares rose 28.3 per cent to their highest level since 2011.

Similar trends were seen south of the border where shares of video game retailer GameStop Corp., whose stores include EB Games, closed up 18 per cent after soaring 64 per cent and then plunging into negative territory.

"At the index level it doesn't look like there's a lot going on but there's very high volatility underneath the surface in various sectors," said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc.

He said there's nothing fundamental that moved BlackBerry higher while the "solid" TFI deal was a key driver for that company's shares.

"It kind of ticks the box if you will of what they've been trying to achieve for awhile and so here's finally the big whale deal that they've been looking at for awhile," Archibald said in an interview.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 60.11 points to 17,906.02.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 36.98 points at 30,960.00, while the S&P 500 index was up 13.89 points at 3,855.36.

The Nasdaq composite was up 92.93 points for a record close of 13,635.99 after reaching a record intraday high of 13,728.98.

BlackBerry pushed the technology sector up more than two per cent while TFI's movement pushed industrials 1.2 per cent higher.

Telecommunications. consumer staples and energy were among seven sectors that climbed on the day.

Energy rose with a small increase in crude oil prices, which helped Husky Energy Inc. increase 5.1 per cent.

The March crude oil contract was up 50 cents at US$52.77 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 14.2 cents at US$2.60 per mmBTU.

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.51 cents US compared with 78.64 cents US on Friday.

Materials, financials, health care and real estate were lower.

A slip in the price of gold pushed materials down with shares of Hudbay Minerals Inc. losing 7.6 per cent,

The February gold contract was down US$1 at US$1,855.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was up 0.3 of a cent at US$3.63 a pound.

The heavyweight financials sector dropped as bond yields declined over concerns that President Joe Biden's US$1.9-trillion stimulus package was facing opposition in the Senate.

The U.S. 10-year treasuries dropped to nearly 1.04 per cent from 1.09 per cent.

The decrease in bond yields tends to favour growth and defensive parts of the market like technology, consumer staples, telecommunications and utilities.

"It's a bit of a rotation day away from some of the reopening trades that have worked pretty well, back to some of the more 'growthier' parts of the market," said Archibald.

The U.S. technology sector increased in anticipation of strong quarterly results from names like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Tesla.

A bevy of companies will be reporting fourth-quarter results in the U.S. while Canada will see results this week from the railways and Rogers Communications.

"The bellwethers in the U.S., the big tech companies are probably going to set the tone here for the next couple of weeks."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:HBM, TSX:HSE, TSX:BB, TSX:TFII, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

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