Falling Canadian dollar coins or loonies are pictured in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

TSX sets record, loonie soars to three-year high on strong jobs report

The Canadian dollar traded for 80.04 cents US

Strong employment numbers for February propelled the Canadian dollar to a three-year high while the TSX climbed for a sixth-straight day to set another record close.

The Canadian dollar traded for 80.04 cents US after hitting an intraday high of 80.26, compared with 79.61 cents US on Thursday.

“Everything’s firing on all cylinders for the Canadian dollar this week. It’s literally up four days in a row,” said Erik Bregar, head of currency strategy at the Exchange Bank of Canada.

Sentiment was buoyed Friday by “blowout” Canadian jobs numbers, he said.

The Canadian economy added 259,000 jobs last month, whipping past expectations to pull the country closer to pre-pandemic employment levels.

One year into the pandemic, Canada’s job market is 599,100 jobs short of where it was in February of last year, or 3.1 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

“That was some icing on the cake for our Canadian dollar,” Bregar said in an interview.

He said the loonie could climb higher if stock markets and global oil prices continue to rise.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see us at the 83 cents mark if the S&P and WTI continue higher over the next three months,” Bregar wrote in a recent email. That level hasn’t been reached since May 2015.

The stronger currency would be good for cross-border shoppers if it weren’t for the fact that the border with the U.S. is closed and airlines have cut service at the government’s request to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Still, Canadians can prepay for holidays or purchase and save U.S. dollars for the eventual trip.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down for most of the day but inched up 6.75 points to a record close of 18,851.31 after hitting an intraday low of 17,297.75.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 reached record closes with the 30-stock Dow up 293.05 points to 32,778.64. The S&P 500 index was up 4.0 points at 3,943.34, while the Nasdaq composite was down 78.81 points at 13,319.8.

Markets were down for most of the day as U.S. 10-year bond yields hit a high of 1.642 per cent. Bregar said yields rose on news that primary dealers sold a record amount of treasuries in the week ending March 3.

He said there’s some nervousness about the expiry on March 31 of some regulatory exemptions that allowed banks to horde U.S. treasuries without affecting some leverage ratios.

“I think that’s what’s made overall risk sentiment a little bit softer today,” Bregar said.

He said the stock market doesn’t seem to mind increasing yields as long as the increases are “slow and manageable.”

“What it freaks out about is when it happens too quickly.”

Financials, energy and materials were among the sectors that rose on the TSX.

Energy was up slightly despite lower crude oil prices with shares of Vermilion Energy Inc. up 2.6 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. 1.7 per cent higher.

The April crude oil contract was down 41 cents at US$65.61 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was down 6.8 at US$2.60 per mmBTU.

Materials rose slightly even though gold was lower.

The April gold contract was down US$2.80 at US$1,719.80 an ounce and the May copper contract was up one tenth of a cent at US$4.14 a pound.

BlackBerry Ltd. gained 10.8 per cent to move technology up while Lightspeed POS Inc. rose 6.9 per cent after announcing another acquisition late Thursday.

North American stock markets ended the week higher despite initial concerns about inflation that ended up being benign.

The TSX gained 2.6 per cent to increase 8.1 per cent so far in 2021. The S&P 500 was also up 2.6 per cent on the week, the Dow 4.1 per cent and Nasdaq 3.1 per cent.

economy

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The old Shielings Motel is being demolished for an eventual roundabout to reduce congestion between Skaha Lake Road and South Main Street. The city is also hoping to have affordable seniors housing there too. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Affordable seniors housing coming to Shielings Motel site in Penticton

The city hopes to turn a portion of the site into affordable housing

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
UPDATE: COVID-19 exposure at Penticton independent school after school program

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in Interior Health schools

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read