Canada’s main stock index enjoyed paltry gains on Thursday in a shortened trading session, driven by strength in utilities and tech issues.

The TSX ended the session up 30.31 points to 17,623.88, for a gain on the week of nearly 75 points, or 0.4%.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.14 cents to 77.99 cents U.S.

Markets on both sides of the border closed early Thursday, at 1 p.m. EST for Christmas Eve.

Utilities led the brigade of winning stocks, as TransAlta Renewables surged $1.32, or 6.8%, to $20.80, while Boralex gained $1.39, or 3.1%, to $45.98.

Among tech issues, Sierra Wireless picked up 87 cents, or 4.8%, to $18.93, while Docebo jumped $3.14, or 4.5%, to $73.67.

Consumer staples prospered, too, as Alimentation Couche-Tard traveled 41 cents higher to $44.63, while Primo Water ended the day up 15 cents to $20.49.

Health-care stocks, however, had a rough time of it, with Aurora Cannabis ducking 59 cents, or 4.9%, to $11.36, while Canopy Growth slid $1.51, or 4.4%, to $33.21.

Among energy stocks, Crescent Point Energy docked six cents, or 2%, to $2.99, while Tourmaline Oil lost 34 cents, or 2%, to $16.88.

In the consumer discretionary field, Magna International doffed $2.37,or 2.5%, to $90.58, while Martinrea International skidded 55 cents, or 3.5%, to $15.15.

On the economic beat, Statistics Canada reported building permits rose 12.9% to $9.4 billion in November, the third highest value on record — the highest value having been reached in April 2019.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange cleared breakeven 3.89 points to 845.78, triumphing 65 points, or 8.4%, on the week.

All but three of the 12 TSX subgroups finished the day higher, with utilities up 0.7%, information technology better by 0.7%, and consumer staples improving 0.3%.

The three laggards proved to be health-care, sagging 1.5%, while energy and consumer discretionaries fell 0.8% each.

ON WALLSTREET

U.S. stocks posted slight gains in thin trading on Thursday to wrap up the holiday-shortened week.

The Dow Jones Industrials gained 70.04 points at 30,199.87

The S&P 500 advanced 13.05 points to 3,703.04.

The NASDAQ added 33.62 points to 12,804.73. Technology was the best-performing sector, rising 0.8%, while energy lagged.

The market closed early at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, and will be closed on Friday in observance of Christmas.

Shares of Alibaba dropped more than 13% following news the China-based e-commerce giant is the target of a new antitrust investigation by the Chinese government.

The S&P 500 registered a 0.2% loss this week amid profit-taking action into the year-end. Policy uncertainty also dampened investors’ spirits in the holiday week. The 30-stock Dow eked out a 0.1% gain for the week.

The NASDAQ rose 0.4% this week.

With just four trading days left in the year, the NASDAQ is on pace to be the clear winner, currently up more than 42%. The Dow improved 5.8%, and the S&P 500 is up 14.6%.

House Republicans on Thursday blocked Democrats’ attempt to pass $2,000 direct payments as the fate of a coronavirus relief package passed by Congress hangs in the balance. The move came after President Donald Trump slammed the $900 billion bill, calling it an unsuitable “disgrace” because it sends $600 rather than $2,000 checks.

Investors also closely monitored progress on the vaccine rollout. The Centers for Disease Control said just over one million shots had been administered as of Wednesday, roughly 19 million doses shy of earlier projections from public health officials for December.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury were lower, raising yields to 0.93% from Wednesday’s 0.94%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices poked higher 11 cents to $48.23 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices gained $5.50 to $1,883.60.

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