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Toronto Set to Start New Streak

Canada's main stock index rose at the open on Thursday, inching close to a record high, lifted by gains in materials and energy sectors.

The S&P/TSX gained 65.62 points to 16,865.91, in Thursday's first hour, after losing ground Wednesday for the first time in seven sessions.

The Canadian dollar added 0.13 cents at 75.35 cents U.S.

RBC raised the target price on Cenovus Energy to $17.00 from $14.00. Cenovus shares tallied 11 cents to $13.34.

National Bank of Canada cuts price target on Baylin Technologies to $2.75 from $6.00. Baylin shares collapsed 87 cents, or 27%, to $2.35.

On the economic front, Statistics Canada said 450,600 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in July, up 5,100 (+1.1%) from June.

The number of EI beneficiaries increased in seven provinces, notably in New Brunswick and Alberta. In contrast, there was a decline in Quebec, while there was little change in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as in Manitoba.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange slumped 1.18 points to 583.73

All but one of the 12 Toronto subgroups were on the up side, with gold brighter 1.7%, materials stronger by 1.3%, and information technology, up 0.8%

Only health-care faltered, down 1.3%.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks rose Thursday as gains in Microsoft, AT&T and other technology companies offset what many investors considered an underwhelming decision by the Federal Reserve in the prior session.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 110.04 points to 27,257.12, as Microsoft led the blue-chip index higher.

The S&P 500 tacked on 13.12 points to 3,019.85, thanks to gains in energy and technology stocks

The NASDAQ Composite recovered 51.94 points to 8,156.13, amid strength in Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet.

Still, the prospect of forward progress between the two sides appeared to buoy shares of technology companies across the board, with Advanced Micro Devices up 1.3% and Micron up 0.6%.

Software giant Microsoft, meanwhile, climbed over 2% after announcing Wednesday evening that it authorized another $40 billion for share buybacks and will raise its quarterly dividend by 5 cents to 51 cents per share.

The modest optimism on Thursday came amid a new round of face-to-face talks between Chinese and American officials, starting in Washington later Thursday. The two-day negotiations are aimed at preparing for high-level talks in early October that will determine whether Washington and Beijing can progress toward a deal or resume the imposition of higher tariffs.

Wall Street ended Wednesday little changed after the Fed approved a rate cut of one quarter point, but offered little for investors hoping for hints that the central bank would lower borrowing costs toward the end of 2019. Officials continued to describe the U.S. labour market as "strong" and characterized Gross Domestic Product growth as "moderate."

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury moved up, lowering yields to 1.77% from Wednesday's 1.80%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions

Oil prices regrouped 55 cents to $58.66 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices deleted $6.80 to $1,500.70 U.S. an ounce.

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